Battleland

Afghan Pullout Will Not Accelerate

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Ambassador Ryan Crocker

The spate of killings of U.S. troops by their purported Afghan allies following the Koran-burning at Bagram has lots of national-security types wondering if that might trigger a speeded-up U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

No way, Ryan Crocker, the esteemed U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, told Stars and Stripes Saturday. “We have not invested the billions of dollars we have and the lives of 1,900 Americans to see the Taliban retake this country and al-Qaida once again be able to restage here,” he told the military newspaper.

The 90,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan will shrink to 68,000 by Oct. 1, with nearly all the rest slated to be out by 2015. Pentagon officials denied an AP report over the weekend that they’d fake part of the reduction by placing special-forces units under the CIA’s command, turning them – for bookkeeping purposes – from troops to spies.

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