U.S. plans to shift their troops in Afghanistan for a bigger role

The United States government to shift their plans for their elite units in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, to play a bigger role. They want to lower down its combat role in Afghanistan a year earlier than expected relies on shifting responsibility to Special Operations forces that hunt insurgent leaders and train local troops.

This news is according to senior officials and military officers from the Pentagon. The US armed forces could remain in Afghanistan after the NATO mission ends in late 2014. This plan was already approved by the president Obama. He also sent 32,000 more troops in Afghanistan last week.

American conventional forces will be the first to leave, while thousands of American Special Operations forces remain, making up an increasing percentage of the troops on the ground. The number of troops to be assigned in Afghanistan will relatively grow in the months to come.

Officials and military planners from the Pentagon say the new plan for Afghanistan is not a direct action to the deteriorating conditions in Iraq. The planned shift could give Mr. Obama a political shield against attacks from his Republican rivals in the presidential race who have already begun criticizing him for moving too fast to extract troops from Afghanistan.

The officials from the White House confirmed in broad terms the shift to a Special Operations mission, and said a formal announcement on the future of the mission was expected at the May summit meeting of NATO leaders in Chicago.

Currently, the U.S. has around 90,000 troops in Afghanistan, with 22,000 of them expected to leave by this fall. No schedule has been set for the pace of withdrawal for the 68,000 American troops who will remain in Afghanistan. Some administration officials are advocating for Mr. Obama to order another reduction by the summer of 2013.

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