In an interview to be broadcast this weekend on NBC, Gen. David Petraeus is to declare that the prospect of a withdrawal from Afghanistan will necessarily depend on the situation on the ground.
When asked about President Obama’s July 2011 drawdown date, Petraeus insisted that while he is aware of it he would not allow it to drive any advice he gives to the president about the prospect of removing US troops.
President Obama has, of course, already disavowed the drawdown date, but officials still occasionally refer to it and suggest that some sort of trivial removal of troops might still happen at that date, for appearances if nothing else.
Yet at the same time, officials keep predicting ever worsening violence in Afghanistan, which is the one prediction which seems to be all too reliable. Petraeus and others are said to be privately pushing for more time, as the previous promises of “progress” by the end of the year look increasingly remote.
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