U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan more rapidly than was previously envisioned, but
without jeopardizing existing gains. Stated U.S. policy is to ensure that Afghanistan will not again
become a base for terrorist attacks against the United States. Following policy reviews in 2009,
the Obama Administration asserted that it was pursuing a well-resourced and integrated militarycivilian
strategy intended to pave the way for a gradual transition to Afghan leadership from July
2011 until the end of 2014. During 2009-2010, 51,000 U.S. forces were added that brought U.S.
troop numbers to 99,000, with partners providing about 42,000. On June 22, 2011, President
Obama announced that the policy had accomplished most major U.S. goals and that a drawdown
of 33,000 U.S. troops would take place by September 2012—the first 10,000 were withdrawn by
the end of 2011 and the remainder of that number will leave by September 2012. The transition to
Afghan leadership began, as planned, in July 2011, and Afghan forces are now in the lead in areas
that include over 50% of all Afghans. On February 1, 2012, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
indicated that U.S. military involvement would transition from combat to a training and advisory
mission by mid-2013, a timeframe affirmed by President Obama in late March.