US to announce Afghanistan troop withdrawal?

US President Barack Obama is likely to announce the drawdown of American troops from Afghanistan on Wednesday, senior administration officials said.

Washington: US President Barack Obama is likely to announce the drawdown of American troops from Afghanistan on Wednesday, senior administration officials said.

However, the White House insisted that Obama has made no decision so far, but said the decision on it would be made "very soon".

"The president is still in the process of finalising his decision on the pace and scope of the drawdown that will begin in July of 2011," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

"He (Obama) is finalising his decision. He`s reviewing the options and the assessments and will have an announcement to make soon," he said in response to a question.

Diplomats from various countries in the knowhow of information being shared by the Obama Administration, said the withdrawal was likely to be equivalent to the 30,000 surge announced by Obama in December 2009. Currently there are about 100,000 US troops serving in Afghanistan.

Obamas top commander for Afghanistan, General David Patraeus, is in Washington this week, giving rise to the speculation that the announcement is imminent. The Pentagon too refused to entertain questions related to the announcement.

"He (Obama) has had a number of consultations with his national security team, all members from, obviously, his uniform command, his civilian leadership, rather, all the principals on the national security team. He is continuing those consultations and will have an announcement soon," Carney said.

PTI

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