Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week that even after President Barack Obama withdraws 33,000 soldiers from Afghanistan by September 2012, there will still be “twice as many” U.S. troops in the country as there were when he took office.
“When the president became president, there were waiting on his desk requests for additional troops,” testified Clinton. “At the time president Obama was inaugurated, there were, give or take, about 30,000-plus American troops [in Afghanistan] and there was no doubt that our attention had shifted to Iraq in the preceding years and that in Iraq there had been a negotiated agreement with the Iraqi government by our government, the Bush administration, as to when our troops would come out.
“With Afghanistan there was nothing, there was an open-ended commitment. There was evidence of our losing to the Taliban, so he (Obama) not only put in the surge, he put in an additional 38,000 troops,” Clinton said. “So I think when all is said and done, we will still have more than twice as many troops [in Afghanistan] as when he took office in January of 2009.”