Now that the election is over, President Obama will have to decide how much the troop level will be reduced in Afghanistan next year. The top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, is expected to provide a plan that will chart the timetable for withdrawing the remaining 68,000 U.S. troops — as well as how many troops will be needed after 2014. That's when the combat mission ends and a new training and counterinsurgency mission begins.
Logar Province, a flashpoint just south of Kabul, shows the challenges facing U.S. forces as they try to prepare Afghan troops to take over security. In some areas, Afghan troops lead operations. In others, insurgents still pose a serious threat, and the U.S. troops still have the lead role.
The U.S. military has long conducted anti-insurgent information campaigns in Afghanistan. But as the U.S. prepares to withdraw combat troops, it's now mentoring the Afghan Army in how to get out its message, particularly through local radio. But it's difficult to tell how it is being received.
The war in Afghanistan has gone largely unmentioned by both presidential campaigns. With a withdrawal scheduled for 2014, public opinion has turned ever more negative on America's longest war. Amid continued insider attacks, many ask why we continue to risk American lives.
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