30,000 more troops headed to Afghanistan

The final numbers are out in advance of President Obama's speech Tuesday night

Published December 1, 2009 4:02PM (EST)

President Obama won't officially announce his new plan for Afghanistan until 8 p.m. EST, when he speaks from West Point. But the White House has begun its rollout of the president's announcement already, leaking the news that 30,000 more troops will be sent to the war over the next six months. These new troops will bring the total American presence in Afghanistan to 100,000.

The deployment will happen faster than the administration had originally planned -- six months as opposed to a year. But Obama reportedly will also talk about timelines for a drawdown in his speech tonight, and will give dates.

Update: CNN reports that Obama will say he wants to end the war and withdraw most U.S. troops within the next three years.

Update 2: The White House says that CNN report is wrong. Instead, Obama will say that a handover of responsibilities to Afghani forces, along with a withdrawal of U.S. troops, will begin in July of 2011. The pace of that withdrawal, and its end, are undetermined and will depend on conditions on the ground. For more, see this post.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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