President Obama has set the right strategic direction for U.S. policy in Afghanistan going forward, officially beginning a transfer to Afghan control of security and a realignment in U.S. strategy. While the pace of withdrawal could have been more significant than the declared 10,000 troops this year, with 23,000 to follow by September 2012, it clearly signaled the initial trajectory of a military drawdown. The President also strongly highlighted aspects of the political, diplomatic and economic strategy that American efforts in Afghanistan must be oriented around moving forward. This includes a political settlement to the conflict, a reduction of Afghan dependency on international aid, and reducing extremism in Pakistan.
The above excerpt was originally published in Foreign Policy.
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