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The exit begins: 10,000 US troops to leave Afghanistan within a year

A decade on, the US president is expected to announce this evening that thousands of American troops will be pulled out of the Afghan war by summer 2012.

11 June 2011: US Lance Corporal Blas Trevino from 1st Battalion, 5th marines shouts as he is rescued after being shot in the stomach in Afghanistan's Helmand Province.
11 June 2011: US Lance Corporal Blas Trevino from 1st Battalion, 5th marines shouts as he is rescued after being shot in the stomach in Afghanistan's Helmand Province.
Image: AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama is expected to unveil his programme for withdrawing some 10,000 US troops from Afghanistan in two batches over the coming year.

About half are expected to be brought back to the US this summer and another 5,000 by winter or spring 2012. The US first invaded Afghanistan in late 2011 as part of its ‘war on terror’ and it now has about 100,000 troops there.

The 10,000 troops expected to be earmarked for withdrawal are part of the 30,000-strong ‘surge’ force sent by Obama to tackle the Taliban and dismantle al-Qaeda’s operations in Afghanistan. Reuters reports that Obama met with the commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan General David Petraeus last week to discuss America’s withdrawal options.

The Council for Foreign Relations reported over a week ago that the 30,000 troops are expected to be pulled out over a 12-18 month period. Only removing 10,000 of those by summer 2012 allows the US to maintain high troop levels through two more fighting seasons.

The end of 2014 has been set at the final date for the US and its allies to end their combat mission in Afghanistan.

Obama is due to make a special address on the issue from the White House this evening.

- Additional reporting by the AP

In numbers: the US military campaign in Afghanistan >

Read: US involved in Taliban peace talks >

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