Speaking to the Associated Press today, top US commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Allen sought to hype as a “major milestone” the claim that a comparatively minor drawdown promised this year is “at the halfway mark.”
The drawdown represents the promised “partial pullout” of some of the troops added in the most recent Obama Administration surge into Afghanistan in 2010, with Allen saying that the largest portion of these troops will be withdrawn in August.
This amounts to just a hair over 10,000 troops, with Allen simultaneously trying to tout its symbolic significance while downplaying its meaning on the ground, saying the goal was to keep the same overall troop level on the battlefield going forward.
Allen likewise sought to downplay the “end of 2014” date at which the NATO war is supposed to be over, promising to keep a significant US military presence beyond that date. President Obama, of course, signed a deal earlier this year to keep US troops in Afghanistan through 2024.