(Photo: Reuters/U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Haraz N. Ghanbari)
White House officials are considering whether to withdraw all 30,000 U.S. surge troops from Afghanistan by late 2012.
A number of options are currently being discussed for the best to method to conduct the U.S. troop drawdown, which is scheduled to commence in July.
President Barack Obama will hold pivotal meetings Wednesday with Afghan President Karzai to discuss strategy. He is also preparing to address U.S. voters on his Afghan strategy this month.
The options for a specific timetable to end the surge by the end of 2012 are being discussed by Pentagon as well as White House officials. The decision on how fast to end the ten-year engagement in Afghanistan, which costs the U.S. around $100 billion a year, is likely to be hugely influential as President Obama seeks a second term in office during he 2012 presidential elections.
Reports suggest that generals are advising Obama to provide a full force of combat troops to continue full-scale operations against the Taliban for another season.
However, civilian advisers, including the Vice President Joe Biden, have seen the killing of Osama bin Laden as a chance to change the direction of U.S. foreign strategy in the region.
The final decision on the speed of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan is likely to have a widespread affect on the region, as America’s other allies operating in the country, including Britain, are likely to follow similar strategies. A senior British government official told The Times in London: “The most important thing is that we are seen to do this in concert with the Americans.”