40,000 Troops To Leave War Zone By End Of 2012 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

40,000 Troops To Leave War Zone By End Of 2012

HUFFINGTONPOST.COM  - Drawdown plans announced by the U.S. and more than a dozen other nations will shrink the foreign military footprint in Afghanistan by 40,000 troops at the close of next year, leaving Afghan forces increasingly on the frontlines of the decade-long war.

The United States is pulling out the most – 33,000 by the end of 2012. That's one-third of 101,000 American troops who were in Afghanistan in June, the peak of U.S. military presence in the war, according to figures provided by the Pentagon.

Others in the 49-nation coalition have announced withdrawal plans too, while insisting they are not rushing to leave. Many nations have vowed to keep troops in Afghanistan to continue training the Afghan police and army in the years to come. And many have pledged to keep sending aid to the impoverished country after the international combat mission ends in 2014.

Still, the exit is making Afghans nervous.

They fear their nation could plunge into civil war once the foreign forces go home. Their confidence in the Afghan security forces has risen, but they don't share the U.S.-led coalition's stated belief that the Afghan soldiers and police will be ready to secure the entire nation in three years. Others worry the Afghan economy will collapse if foreigners leave and donors get stingy with aid.

Foreign forces began leaving Afghanistan this year.

About 14,000 foreign troops will withdraw by the end of December, according to an Associated Press review of more than a dozen nations' drawdown plans. The United States is pulling out 10,000 service members this year; Canada withdrew 2,850 combat forces this summer; France and Britain will each send about 400 home; Poland is recalling 200; and Denmark and Slovenia are pulling out about 120 combined.

Troop cutbacks will be deeper next year, when an estimated 26,000 more will leave. That figure includes 23,000 Americans, 950 Germans, 600 more French, 500 additional Britons, 400 Poles, 290 Belgians, 156 Spaniards, 100 Swedes and 50 Finns.

Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, told the AP that the number of Marines in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan will drop "markedly" in 2012, and the role of those who stay will shift from countering the insurgency to training and advising Afghan security forces.

Amos declined to discuss the number of Marines expected to leave in 2012.

There are now about 19,400 Marines in Helmand, and that is scheduled to fall to about 18,500 by the end of this year.

"Am I OK with that? The answer is `yes,'" Amos said. "We can't stay in Afghanistan forever."

"Will it work? I don't know. But I know we'll do our part."

Additional troop cuts or accelerated withdrawals are possible.

Many other countries, including Hungary and Italy, are finalizing their withdrawal schedules. Presidential elections in Europe and the European debt crisis also could speed up the pullout. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said this week that Australia's training mission could be completed before the 2014 target date.

Back in June, then-U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that when the Obama administration begins pulling troops from Afghanistan, the U.S. will resist a rush to the exists, "and we expect the same from our allies." Gates said it was critically important that a plan for winding down NATO's combat role by the end of 2014 did not squander gains made against the Taliban that were won at great cost in lives and money.

"The more U.S. forces draw down, the more it gives the green light for our international partners to also head for the exits," said Jeffrey Dressler, a senior research analyst at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington. "There is a cyclical effect here that is hard to temper once it gets going." Click here to read the full story

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Retired Spokane Police captain seriously hurt in Costa Rica crash

    Retired Spokane Police captain seriously hurt in Costa Rica crash

    Monday, November 12 2018 10:31 PM EST2018-11-13 03:31:20 GMT
    Holly and Keith Cummings (Photo: GoFundMe)Holly and Keith Cummings (Photo: GoFundMe)

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A retired Spokane Police captain is fighting for his life in the hospital.   Keith Cummings and his wife Holly were on vacation in Costa Rica and got into a head-on crash with another truck on Friday. In an online fundraiser, their daughter, Rachel Durkin, said her mother is recovering in a hotel room with several facial fractures and a pelvic fracture.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A retired Spokane Police captain is fighting for his life in the hospital.   Keith Cummings and his wife Holly were on vacation in Costa Rica and got into a head-on crash with another truck on Friday. In an online fundraiser, their daughter, Rachel Durkin, said her mother is recovering in a hotel room with several facial fractures and a pelvic fracture.

    >>
  • What you need to know about Initiative 1639's "safe storage" restriction

    What you need to know about Initiative 1639's "safe storage" restriction

    Monday, November 12 2018 8:17 PM EST2018-11-13 01:17:30 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - It's been nearly one week since Washington voters passed Initiative 1639, a sweeping package of stricter gun regulations - particularly for semiautomatic rifles. While the measure raises the minimum age to purchase semiautomatic rifles to 21, creates enhanced background checks, and forces customers to wait 10 days before taking possession of the firearm, I-1639 lays the framework for "safe storage" of semiautomatic rifles

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - It's been nearly one week since Washington voters passed Initiative 1639, a sweeping package of stricter gun regulations - particularly for semiautomatic rifles. While the measure raises the minimum age to purchase semiautomatic rifles to 21, creates enhanced background checks, and forces customers to wait 10 days before taking possession of the firearm, I-1639 lays the framework for "safe storage" of semiautomatic rifles

    >>
  • Spokane Police arrest drunk drive-by shooting suspect

    Spokane Police arrest drunk drive-by shooting suspect

    Tuesday, November 13 2018 10:51 AM EST2018-11-13 15:51:56 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Police arrested a 41-year-old man they say fired shots in downtown Spokane while driving drunk.  Officers were called to the area of Sprague and Browne at approximately 9:30 pm Monday for a report of multiple shots fired in the area. The first officers were on scene in less than a minute. A security officer in the area was able to provide a description of the suspect's SUV and a direction of travel. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Police arrested a 41-year-old man they say fired shots in downtown Spokane while driving drunk.  Officers were called to the area of Sprague and Browne at approximately 9:30 pm Monday for a report of multiple shots fired in the area. The first officers were on scene in less than a minute. A security officer in the area was able to provide a description of the suspect's SUV and a direction of travel. 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/