Barack Obama has outlined his plans to start bringing US combat troops home from Afghanistan after a decade of war.
In a televised address the president announced a more rapid reduction than military commanders had advised.
“ Starting next month we will be able to remove 10,000 of our troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year. And we will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer – fully recovering the surge I announced at West Point,” said the president.
“After this initial reduction our troops will continue coming home at a steady pace as Afghan security forces move into the lead our mission will change from combat to support. By 2014 this process of transition will be complete and the Afghan people will be responsible for their own security.”
With the war becoming increasingly unpopular back home and costing more than 1.3 billion euros a day, Obama has chosen to ignore military advice.
They had urged him to leave the combat troops in Afghanistan for another fighting season in order to attack Taliban strongholds and their leaders.
However, for some Republicans and Liberals the withdrawal will not be fast enough.