Reports in US media indicate that Obama intends to keep around 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan after the supposed withdrawal date at the end of 2014.
A report in the Wall Street Journal cites anonymous US officials who claim that the Washington is negotiating with the Afghan government to keep about 10,000 troops in the country even after the scheduled withdrawal date of 2014. This was widely expected, as the general principle was embodied in the Strategic Partnership Agreement signed on May 2, 2012 between the US and Afghanistan. The officials said that the numbers were in accord with recommendations of the top US commander in Afghanistan General John Allen.
Obama's choice as successor to Allen, General Joe Dunford, has strongly supported keeping the occupation going after 2014: “To accomplish this objective. ..the primary missions of the US military in Afghanistan should be to (1) train, advise, and assist the ANSF; (2) provide support to civilian agencies, and (3) conduct counter-terrorism operations. This mission set will include force protection for our brave young men and women and, as available, the provision of in extremis support for our Afghan forces.” Last month, the NATO command, in a report, found that Taliban attacks have actually increased since the beginning of the surge of U.S troops into Afghanistan. The Kabul government remains weak and very corrupt. The US-backed and trained security forces are mostly unable to operate on their own, and in some cases have been infiltrated by insurgents resulting in attacks against their trainers.
The Obama plan seems to be to try and shore up a failed enterprise while suggesting that the war is over, The war, officially, may be over but the US, and other NATO allies no doubt, will continue to throw good money after bad in long term military investments in Afghanistan
Official reports will probably continue to be relatively rosy. As Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Davies said last year:: “Our current military leadership is so distorting the information it releases that the deterioration of the situation and the failing nature of our efforts is shielded from the American public (and Congress), and replaced instead with explicit statements that all is going according to plan.” No doubt these distortions will continue in Obama's new term in office.