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article imageUnited States to keep troop withdrawal slow in Afghanistan

By Michael Bearak     Dec 7, 2009 in Politics
The White House has begun announcing the troop withdrawal in Afghanistan will be a gradual exit. Some are considering it more of a "ramp-up" than a pullout.
President Barack Obama's National Security Advisor, according to Fox News, has been quoted as saying that the Adminstration is looking at the United State's troop withdrawal being "a ramp" and not just jumping off of a cliff.
Many Republicans were quick to voice discontent last week with the President when he announced the time-line for troop withdrawal, which was set to begin in 2011. It was at that same time that the President committed 30,000 more troops in an effort to strengthen Kabul and push back the Taliban and their recent advances in the area.
Retired General James Jones was on CNN's "State of the Union" and stated outright, ""We're going to be in the region for a longtime." His words and backed up by both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Gates was quoted on 'This Week" as saying that this was not so much an exit strategy but rather a "transition." For the last week Republicans have been stating that the "withdrawal" was arbitrary and would only help enemies of the United States because they would know when U.S. troops would be leaving.
Clinton in supporting the plan was quoted on "Meet the Press" as saying, "We're not talking about an exit strategy or a drop-dead deadline," "What we're talking about is an assessment that ... we can begin a transition, a transition to hand off responsibility to the Afghan forces."
Gates refuted the claim concerning the time table being arbitrary by pointing out that the President and his administration have consulted with various military leaders before making their decision and this course of action, "our military leaders believe will give us time to know that our strategy is working."
More about Afghanistan, Troop withdrawal, President obama, Ret gen james jones, Republicans
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