U.S. Draws Up 2014 Exit Plan

In their most detailed plans yet, the Obama team has drawn up a schedule for ending the combat mission in Afghanistan by 2014. The U.S. will present the agenda at a NATO summit in Lisbon this week. The plans call for handing over security duties to Afghan forces during the next 18 to 24 months. The schedule isn’t all that different from what happened in Iraq, where a 2007 troop surge laid the foundation for this summer’s end of combat. Already, the U.S. is beginning to identify which regions in Afghanistan can be handed over first, and will begin transitioning those areas by the year’s end. Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s president, has been pushing for a reduction of U.S. troops’ visibility, saying it only steels the resolve of the Taliban.