With his arduous confirmation finally over, Secretary Hagel arrived in Afghanistan to confront considerable challenges, including the pace of withdrawal and the size of the residual US force.
With a lengthy, even bruising, confirmation process just concluded in Washington, Secretary Hagel faces some considerable challenges that await him in Afghanistan, as US and NATO troops continue to fight a nearly 12-year-long war.
Among the most daunting of these is developing a plan for withdrawing US combat forces from the country by 2014. This means wrestling with two thorny questions: How quickly should American troops be withdrawn from Afghanistan – there are currently 66,000 in the country – and what is the ideal size for the residual force that will hold down the fort and continue training Afghan security forces after 2014?
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