The Obama administration is planning to release a plan at a NATO summit in Lisbon this week that would call for withdrawals to start in 18 to 24 months. (Administration officials had recently been openly hinting that Obama's promise of getting out soon was dead in the water.) The removal of 264,000 troops will occur in a piecemeal fashion, one region at a time. In the end, however, just like in Iraq, tens of thousands of American troops will likely have to stay behind in order to train and monitor the Afghan security forces. “Iraq is a pretty decent blueprint for how to transition in Afghanistan,” one official said.
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