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Jun 21, 2011 1:06 PM by Stefanie Boe

President Obama to address the nation on Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (MSNBC) - President Barack Obama is set to announce a blueprint for bringing U.S. troops home from Afghanistan that is expected to reduce the number of troops by up to 5,000 next month, as well as a broader plan for recalling the rest of the 30,000 surge forces he sent there in 2009.

The plan Obama will announce in a speech Wednesday is designed to put the U.S. on a path toward giving Afghans control of their own security by 2014.

The president is expected announce a complete withdrawal of the 30,000 "surge" troopsby the end of 2012, CNN reported Tuesday, citing an administration official. The surge was announced in 2009 on the condition that Obama would start bringing forces home in July 2011.

Obama was given a range of options for the withdrawal last week by Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan. The military favors a gradual reduction in troops but other advisers are advocating a significant decrease in the coming months.

The president has said he favors a significant withdrawal, his advisers have not quantified that statement.

At a Democratic fundraiser in Washington Monday night, Obama said that by the end of the year, "we will be transitioning in Afghanistan to turn over more and more security to the Afghan people."

Following the announcement on the drawdown, Obama will visit troops Thursday at Fort Drum, the upstate New York military base that is home to the 10th Mountain Division, one of the most frequently deployed divisions to Afghanistan and Iraq.

 

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