President Obama announced in his State of the Union on Tuesday that over the next year, half of the U.S. combat force in Afghanistan will leave the country: by February 2014, 34,000 out of roughly 68,000 troops will have returned home. It is good news that additional American troops will come home after years of debilitating combat. And it was gratifying to see the President dedicate time during a key speech to a conflict that has become known as Americaâ€™s â€œforgotten war.â€�
However, the speech is also a reminder that the war is not ending as quickly or as completely as Americans hoped. A year from now, 34,000 troops will remain in combat â€“ more than when President Obama took office.
Furthermore, the White House has not announced how many soldiers will remain in Afghanistan after the warâ€™s â€œofficial endâ€� in 2014. The president has also been vague about the nature of the post-2014 military mission.