The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in June of 2011 is practically impossible. This is the point of view of US defense officials in the war-torn country. However, politicians and scientists of politics in Washington try to conceal the failure of Barack Obama's strategy terms saying that there is misunderstanding in understanding "a bit of a complex, nuanced message" from the US president.
"I think the clear overall message or takeaway is that in fact there will be the beginning of a withdrawal starting in July but, in fact, the word 'withdrawal' itself might not even be optimal. It's not so much the beginning of a departure as it is the gradual rebalancing of who does what share of the overall job," Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution said.
Indeed, US officials prefer to speak about the "process" and "transition" rather than "withdrawal". Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated that there was no precise date for the withdrawal of the US contingent from Afghanistan at all.
"I think we need to reemphasize the message that we are not leaving Afghanistan in July of 2011. We are beginning a transition process," Gates told ABC News. "Drawdowns early on will be of fairly limited numbers," he said. "It will depend on the conditions on the ground."
Analyst Lisa Curtis at the Heritage Foundation believes that setting the pull out date on July 2011 was a mistake, even if it is only a start of the process, as Obama specified.
"That is what he said last December, but I think that the way it was interpreted in the region was that it was an exit strategy and that the U.S. was getting ready to withdraw," she said.
The proponents of strict terms for the US withdrawal believe that such a strategy puts pressure on US and international organizations, as well as on the Afghan government to achieve faster development of various programs, including security guarantee, public administration, economic development and others.
Obama's critiques believe that such pressure is counterproductive and can lead to the appearance of unrealistic objectives and expectations. Moreover, they believe, it begets panic in the Afghan society over the fear of the return of the Taliban regime after the US withdrawal from the country.
The commander of the NATO training mission in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, shares the above-mentioned point of view. The official stated in Kabul that the Afghan army and the police would be able to take the situation in the country under control not earlier than October 2011. Therefore, the US troops will have to stay in Afghanistan at least six months longer.
The general believes that Afghan soldiers and police officers are not fully prepared for maintaining security in their own country. The US military men, who made the adequate research in the Afghan army, were extremely disappointed with the results of the inspection.
The inspection revealed that the local soldiers did not have the required level of physical and even elementary education. Thus, the USA will probably withdraw one or two companies from Afghanistan in July 2011, to give the symbolic start to the "process."
Analyst Lisa Curtis is certain that it would be wrong to leave quickly. The USA needs the "winning strategy" rather than a deadline.
"There is definitely time to show signs of success, to show that the strategy has the capability achieve the objectives by next July. But I think an idea that somehow we will have prevailed over the Taliban, that we will be able to leave rapidly, in large numbers, I think that is unrealistic," she said.
Even if the US troops stay in the country longer, it will not be possible for them to improve the situation in the republic. Everyone knows now that the US-led campaign in Afghanistan is a failure. International forces continue to suffer human losses. The war in Afghanistan is just as far from the end as it was several years ago when it began. The real state of affairs is so much different from Vice President Joe Biden's remarks about the USA's progress in the struggle against al-Qaeda.