The commander of U.S. forces in the Mideast is trying to reassure worried lawmakers that there will be an orderly withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan -- not a rush for exit starting July next year.
At a Senate hearing, lawmakers questioned President Barack Obama's plan to start withdrawal in July 2011 if conditions on the ground allow. Senators complained that Afghans see that as the date they will be abandoned by the U.S.
Gen. David Petraeus (Pah-TRAY-us) said that is not correct -- and that the date is the beginning of a transition process. Defense Department under secretary Michele Flournoy agreed, saying Obama hasn't set timelines for how many troops will come home -- and when -- because the president believes that will depend on progress in the war.