President Barack Obama has announced to reduce a chunk of the US military presence in Afghanistan. By this year Obama stated in his announcement that 10,000 US troops would return to the US from Afghanistan by the end of 2011. There will also be a gradual decrease throughout the next year to bring the total of US troops leaving Afghanistan by next summer to 33,000 US troops.
When Obama originally stepped into office, he ordered an additional 30,000 troops into Afghanistan in 2009. The war by then had entered its 7th year. There will also be a decrease through the years of US troops then effectively by 2014 the “Afghan people will be responsible for their own security.” Citing that the US would no longer be on combat role but a support role, which is similar to the situation in Iraq.
How many troops are in Afghanistan?
NATO/ISAF currently have 132, 457 personnel in Afghanistan. The US contribution far outshines other allied efforts within the country with the US having around 90,000 troops in Afghanistan. This would mean by next summer that only around 57,000 US troops would be in Afghanistan. Close to the amount that was originally in Afghanistan before Barack Obama stepped into office. However the most significant wording was the changing of roles by US troops to a support role as opposed to going out and patrolling in a combat role.
It is likely hoped that the Afghan military will be able to take over defense within their own country and secure their own country. The President stated that nation-building needs to be done at home now since the economic downturn of 2008. The cost of operations just in Afghanistan in the fiscal year of 2010 had cost the US $138 billion dollars. The 2011 cost is said to outpace 2010’s fiscal year. However with the cutting down of troops and operations within Afghanistan the monetary cost is to go down.
The US not only has monetary losses from Afghanistan but also people losses and since they have the largest force in Afghanistan by far, there have been a lot more casualties and fatalities than any other country. 1,551 US troops have been killed since 2001 and close to 11,000 US personnel have been wounded or injured while serving in Afghanistan.