President Obama met with his national security staff and finalized his decision about the size and scope of the immediate troop drawdown in Afghanistan on Tuesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. Obama is expected to unveil his decision in an 8 p.m. speech from the White House on Wednesday night.
Although many news outlets have written reports about the number of troops who may be brought home, Carney sought to cast doubt on the credibility of those reports, calling them “speculation.”
There has been a considerable amount of public input about the withdrawal, especially given a recent turn of public opinion against the war. “The president made the decision that he believes is the right decision as commander in chief,” Carney said. The decision was made in consultation with senior national security staff.
The decision to begin the drawdown in July 2011 was part of a broader policy review that Obama conducted in 2009 leading to his decision to add an additional 30,000 troops to the war effort in Afghanistan. The full transfer of authority to Afghan security forces is slated to occur by 2014.
“It is a strategy that we believe has led to our successes in taking the fight to al-Qaida, including in the successful mission against Osama bin Laden,” Carney said. “It has led to our successes in stopping the momentum of the Taliban, and it has led to our successes in training the Afghan National Security Forces.”