US seeks to slow down military withdrawal from Afghanistan

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Washington, Aug.12 (ANI): American military officials are building a case to minimize the planned withdrawal of some troops from Afghanistan starting next summer to counter growing pressure on President Obama from inside his own party to begin winding the war down quickly.

Gen. David H. Petraeus is reported to be taking several steps in that direction, suggesting that a rapid withdrawal would be unwise.

Meanwhile, a rising generation of young officers, who are experts in counterinsurgency, have begun quietly telling administration officials that they need time to get their work done.

According to the New York Times, US Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates signalled the military's position recently when he said that the initial troop withdrawals next summer "will be of fairly limited numbers."

Administration officials said they were hopeful that General Petraeus's stature in Congress and in allied capitals in Europe and the Middle East would buy him the time and flexibility to try to make the counter-insurgency strategy he devised - and carried out in Iraq - work in Afghanistan.

General Petraeus is also making the fight against corruption and efforts to improve the rule of law top priorities.

"These are both long-term objectives that won't get solved in the next year or maybe not in the next decade," said the senior American officer.

For now, White House officials say that they are sticking to their plan for a conditions-based withdrawal starting in July 2011, and that in areas where counterinsurgency operations just began this year, their plan still calls for giving American forces roughly two years to show results and transfer control to Afghan security forces. (ANI)

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