n his February 12 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama outlined the beginning of the end of American participation in Afghanistan's now decades long civil war. The US would endure a phased troop withdrawal meant to halve the presence of American soldiers within a year's time, reducing the present force of approximately 66,000 by 34,000.
The remainder are then theoretically going to make a rather hasty retreat between October 2014 and the start of 2015 with a possible residual force of several thousand soldiers staying on in a training and support capacity.
The precise number of troops, if there are to be any at all, will depend on the outcome of negotiations between Washington and
Kabul. Obama did not provide any spoiler alerts in his annual speech most likely because timetables and logistics with America's Afghan counterparts simply have yet to be hammered out.
The message, however, was very clear: whether Afghanistan is ready or not, America's oversized military boot print in that country is already dissipating.