Troops out of Afghanistan by 2014

On Friday, November 19th, heads of State of NATO member countries gathered for a two day summit in Lisbon, Portugal. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss such topics as Afghanistan and missile defense.

For the first time on Saturday, President Barack Obama said he would like to have U.S. troops out of major combat in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. At a closing news conference Obama said, “My goal is to make sure that by 2014 we have transitioned, Afghans are in the lead and it is a goal to make sure that we are not still engaged in combat operations of the sort we’re involved in now.” If Obama’s expectation about ending the U.S. combat mission in 2014 holds, it would mark a turning point in a war that has been going on for 10 years.

In 2009 when Obama entered office, he pledged to end the Iraq war, in order to shift forces, resources, and attention to Afghanistan. Obama calls the fight with Afghanistan a fight the U.S. cannot afford to lose.

The U.S. has about 100,000 troops in Afghanistan; other countries allied to the U.S. have about 40,000.

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