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Setbacks are piling up as U.S. troop ‘surge’ ends
Withdrawal » The plan to put the Afghans in the combat lead is falling apart.


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U.S. and coalition officials say the overall war plan remains on track, with Afghan forces taking more of a lead role in fighting the Taliban insurgency over the next two years. The combat role for international forces is scheduled to end in December 2014, although some thousands of troops are to remain in various support roles.

Often forgotten is that U.S. troop levels increased more in Obama’s first year in office — from about 32,000 to about 68,000 — than during the surge. Portions of those early increases were leftover requests from U.S. commanders for reinforcements that President George W. Bush did not act on before leaving office.

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