President Obama announced on May 27th a scaled back plan to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2016. The proposal will reduce the present 32,000 troops to 9,800 by the end of 2014 with final withdrawal by the end of 2016. The proposal is subject to the approval of a bilateral security agreement (BSA). The current Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has refused to sign a BSA, but his probable successors indicate they will sign such an agreement.
The President’s announcement represents a sharp pull back from the previous plan to retain 10 to 15 thousand U.S. personnel in Afghanistan for ten years.