US officials are reporting that the last of the 2010 surge troops has been removed from Afghanistan, meaning 23,000 have been removed this year on top of 10,000 removed late last year. 68,000 US troops remain.
The 2010 surge has come under repeated criticism for accomplishing nothing meaningful, and indeed the death toll soared from the moment the surge began, and has just started to taper back to near pre-surge levels as the troops have returned home.
Not that it’s a clinch they’ll stay home. Some NATO officials are already pushing the idea of another new surge simply to facilitate the “drawdown” because of the enormous number of unopened shipping containers that have been sent over the years.
With the end of this surge the US more or less doesn’t have any publicly released plans for future troop levels, talking up an unspecified drawdown at the end of 2014 and having signed a pact to keep troops in the nation through 2024.