Posted: Jun 22, 2011 4:50 PM by Stefanie Boe
Updated: Jun 22, 2011 6:52 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) - By the summer of next year, the number of U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan could be reduced by more than 30,000.
That's the timetable that President Barack Obama is expected to announce this evening, in a speech to the nation.
The President's Speech can be seen at 6 p.m. on News First 5, followed by News First 5 at 6.
Officials say 10,000 would be home by the end of this year, and more than 20,000 others would pull out no later than September of next year.
That would account for the extra forces that Obama ordered into Afghanistan in late 2009.
The U.S. and its NATO allies hope to end the combat mission and turn over control to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.
Obama is under increasing political pressure to wind down the war -- especially since the death of Osama bin Laden.
As the military lobbied for a more modest troop reduction, Obama promised a significant one -- as support for the war among Americans in general and among members of Congress faded.
A senior U.S. official says the initial withdrawal is expected to happen in two phases, with 5,000 troops coming home this summer and an additional 5,000 by the end of the year.