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Stanley McChrystal

Drawdown in Afghanistan

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta raised a storm signalling that US and NATO troops in Afghanistan will transition from a combat role to a “training, assist and advice” role by late 2013, a year earlier than the mandated 2014 schedule. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney had earlier railed against US troops fighting a war of independence for another nation, political expediency now dictated his calling Panetta’s withdrawal announcement “misguided” and “naïve”, “why should you tell the people you are fighting with the date you are pulling out your troops?” Echoing his sentiments US Senator John McCain said none of the US military commanders had recommended the drawdown, the US commander in Afghanistan, Marine General John R Allen, cautioning that “the drawdown schedule is more aggressive than anticipated”.

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