President Obama announced Wednesday night that all of the 33,000 additional U.S. forces he ordered to Afghanistan in December 2009 would be home within the next 15 months.
In a nationally televised address from the East Room of the White House, Obama said 10,000 of the so-called "surge" forces would withdraw by the end of this year, and the other 23,000 would leave Afghanistan by September 2012. The troop withdrawals will begin next month, as promised when Obama ordered the surge in a speech 18 months ago. (Chart: U.S. troop levels over the years)
After the departure of all the surge forces, the total U.S. military deployment in Afghanistan would be just under 70,000 troops. Obama's time frame would give U.S. commanders another two "fighting" seasons with the bulk of U.S. forces still available for combat operations.