Cameron wants UK drawdowns in Afghanistan “within weeks”

posted at 3:35 pm on May 12, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama has difficult decisions ahead of him this summer as he mulls over his pledge to draw down American troop levels after the late 2009 surge and a new, aggressive COIN strategy has made progress in Afghanistan.  His main partner in the NATO coalition has complicated the problem for the US.  UK Prime Minister David Cameron has demanded an immediate drawdown of hundreds of British troops and will apparently insist that his country will exit entirely by 2014:

Following the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the Prime Minister is increasingly determined to start bringing the Afghan mission to an end. He has told defence chiefs he wants to start the withdrawal this summer, as the US begins to reduce its troop numbers.

But British commanders have warned David Cameron that an early exit could jeopardise the counter-insurgency mission, allowing the Taliban to regain territory and popular support.

As a compromise, defence chiefs have reluctantly drawn up plans to withdraw 450 of Britain’s 10,000 troops from Afghanistan. Mr Cameron wants to agree their withdrawal with Barack Obama when he visits London later this month.

The British troops could leave Afghanistan as soon as July, when the American withdrawal begins.

The 2014 deadline isn’t much of a surprise.  Cameron has said as much before, and the British electorate are likely to insist on it.  Cameron is, in that sense, merely reflecting the will of the people.

On an accelerated early withdrawal, however, the Telegraph reports that military commanders see more politics than strategy at play in the accelerated drawdowns this summer.  They are raiding the rear-echelon ranks in order to provide some meaty raw numbers of troops returning home in the hope that Cameron will accept that, rather than more substantial cuts in Helmand that would threaten progress made against the Taliban.  If Cameron insists on the latter, that may pressure Obama to shift American troops to hold those gains, which would limit his ability to draw down troops in advance of the 2012 elections here.

Plus, the UK now has another fight on its hands in Libya.  At the moment, the offensive relies entirely on air resources, but that may have to change if NATO doesn’t get the regime change it obviously seeks.  Thanks to an early American exit from the NATO effort, most of the combat resources have to be supplied by the French and British.  Given the American retreat on the Libya intervention, don’t expect Cameron to have a great deal of sympathy for any complications Obama may face in Afghanistan.

The death of Osama bin Laden has created an opening for our NATO partners to reassess their participation in the long slog of Afghanistan.  If the US dismantles al-Qaeda, the fight in Afghanistan will look more and more like tribal warfare than a global concern.  With the second-largest contingent sending off loud signals that they’re ready to start playing the end game, we’re going to have to get as much done as quickly as possible, and hope it will be enough.


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Than give us back the money you used to put your troops in Afghanistan via NATO, since you were the first nation asking for help there.

upinak on May 12, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Hey no probs. We’ll just pull out the ol China Express credit card and do this one ourselves.

james23 on May 12, 2011 at 3:40 PM

Don’t get me wrong….I struggle back and forth as to whether we should remain in Afghanistan also….but why does it seem that the countries we call allies are nothing but weenies anymore?

search4truth on May 12, 2011 at 3:42 PM

The US should leave as well. The Taliban doesn’t believe in anything that most of the Muslim world also believes in. Even if we forced the Taliban to change their name to the Zalsiban what exactly would that accomplish?

Currently Sudan, Somalia, Algeria, Lebanon, Yemen, Indonesia, and Pakistan have Al-Qaeda on their territory so what do we hope to accomplish in Afghanistan?

sharrukin on May 12, 2011 at 3:44 PM

The way Mr. Obama is asking our troops to fight the war, makes me wonder myself.

hawkdriver on May 12, 2011 at 3:47 PM

why does it seem that the countries we call allies are nothing but weenies anymore?

search4truth on May 12, 2011 at 3:42 PM

cuz we’re all paying for universal healthcare and can’t afford frills like armies and air forces.

ProfessorMiao on May 12, 2011 at 3:53 PM

drawdown is one thing, complete withdrawal is another.

jp on May 12, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Can’t blame Cameron, dear leader started he has no intention of finishing re:libya

cmsinaz on May 12, 2011 at 3:56 PM

No worries. Redeploy them back in the UK, where they let jihadis run amok.

Christien on May 12, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Following the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the Prime Minister is increasingly determined to start bringing the Afghan mission to an end. He has told defence chiefs he wants to start the withdrawal this summer, as the US begins to reduce its troop numbers.
==============================

Thats the narrative,I`m guessing!

OBL=War On Terror!

Nevermind the fact,that Jihadys have been at war for over
2000 years,to take over the world…Allahs Will,and all that crap!

So,the West thinks OBL has died,and so will Terrorism,
surely,the Brits aren’t that Niave!!(sarc)

canopfor on May 12, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Americans and retreat in the same sentence

*sigh*

cmsinaz on May 12, 2011 at 4:06 PM

cuz we’re all paying for universal healthcare and can’t afford frills like armies and air forces.

ProfessorMiao on May 12, 2011 at 3:53 PM

And here I was a believer in Universal Health Care “bending the cost curve down!” LOL

search4truth on May 12, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Withdrawal is BHO’s reelection ticket,he thinks.

docflash on May 12, 2011 at 4:09 PM

It’s worth pointing out too that at the start of the Libya campaign the RAF chief announced that in six months time (the period he had allotted to the mission there) the RAF would be at exhaustion point. After that they will necessarily need to stop flying combat missions.

Cameron’s short-sighted defence spending cuts have virtually crippled the British military from operating effectively. Drawing down is the only option left because of the man-power and spending cuts Cameron is inflicting. The Libya mission also negatively affects the RAF from operating in Afghanistan. In addition, the UK has lost it’s Harrier jump jets and is having its Tornado squadrons slashed. The RAF just doesn’t have the resources any more to fight in Libya & Afghanistan- and it doesn’t help that Cameron mothballed our aircraft carrier in an effort to save money- years before its replacement becomes operational.

Cameron is a lot like Blair before him- savage, unthinking cuts to the military while at the same time getting them involved in another foreign intervention.

Hopefully his military advisers will make him see sense and not throw away the hard-fought gains that British servicemen and women have died for.

Jay Mac on May 12, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Declare victory, withdraw by the end of the year, and bomb from afar if the locales make any more trouble.

The Afghans have had a nearly a decade to come up to speed.

Time enough.

profitsbeard on May 12, 2011 at 4:16 PM

O/T

looks like Mitt’s speech bombed. And did so badly:

Update: The verdict from the Twitterverse is in: Mitt’s Toast. Here is a brief sampling:

OneFineJay:

I’m at work and thanks to Twitter I’m not missing the political suicide of THE DECADE.

Phillip Klein:

Romney making passionate case for why it’s okay to violate personal freedom at state level

Jonah Goldberg:

Gosh, I hope he doesn’t end this by taking out a can of gasoline and then pours it over his head.

Mollie Hemingway:

I think Romney took the WSJ suggestion to run as Obama’s mate a BIT too seriously.

Legal Insurrection:

Please make him stop

unseen on May 12, 2011 at 4:16 PM

I’d lke to know what it’s going to take (and how long) for the Afghan military to stand on it’s own. I mean, are we making any progress on that front? I ask because we never hear about this like we heard when we were building up Iraq’s armed forces…

CliffHanger on May 12, 2011 at 4:17 PM

Americans and retreat in the same sentence

*sigh*

cmsinaz on May 12, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Vietnam was unavailable for comment.

Darth Executor on May 12, 2011 at 4:21 PM

A little humour!
==================

Delta Bravo Sierra

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-TVNv996-hnA/TcuU0gD48MI/AAAAAAABCM8/1NWripRDj08/s1600/2011-05-11.jpg

From
—–

http://www.theospark.net/

canopfor on May 12, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Nevermind the fact,that Jihadys have been at war for over
2000 years,to take over the world…Allahs Will,and all that crap!

So,the West thinks OBL has died,and so will Terrorism,
surely,the Brits aren’t that Niave!!(sarc)

canopfor on May 12, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Moron! Islam has only been in existence for slightly over 1400 years. Oh, by the way, you see how I put your post in quotes to differentiate it from my response?

Why don’t you learn to do that? Then, maybe your posts might begin to be readable.

PakviRoti on May 12, 2011 at 4:31 PM

The death of Osama bin Laden has created an opening for our NATO partners to reassess their participation in the long slog of Afghanistan.

..so, in other words, The Pantload’s “gutsy call” has screwed the pooch for our guys in Afghanistan.

The War Planner on May 12, 2011 at 4:31 PM

canopfor on May 12, 2011 at 4:01 PM
=======================
Moron! Islam has only been in existence for slightly over 1400 years. Oh, by the way, you see how I put your post in quotes to differentiate it from my response?

Why don’t you learn to do that? Then, maybe your posts might begin to be readable.

PakviRoti on May 12, 2011 at 4:31 PM

PakviRoti:Thanks for the advise,umm,your going to a nervous
break-down,on commenting style,of a commenter!

canopfor on May 12, 2011 at 4:48 PM

The Brits have been our strongest allies until Obama took office. I can’t blame them for wanting to bail out. Quite frankly, after the Churchill bust was returned, the PM got the DVD’s he couldn’t watch, and Queen got the iPod with Obama’s speeches, they should have bailed out then. The Brits could kick their jihadi’s out of their country easier than we could ours.

TulsAmerican on May 12, 2011 at 5:10 PM

The death of Osama bin Laden has created an opening for our NATO partners to reassess their participation in the long slog of Afghanistan.

..so, in other words, The Pantload’s “gutsy call” has screwed the pooch for our guys in Afghanistan.

The War Planner on May 12, 2011 at 4:31 PM

This may have been the Paks’ plan in looking the other way and not sending out a warning, when we came for OBL. Give the allies a small victory and get thereby get them out of Afghanistan. Might work.

slickwillie2001 on May 12, 2011 at 5:10 PM

We should leave too. The Afghan’s have shown their too backward to ever advance as a country.

If they ever give us trouble in the future, Nuke ‘em.

Machiavelli Hobbes on May 12, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Cameron doesn’t want to upset Londonistan. Appeasement works!

Django on May 12, 2011 at 6:37 PM

Afghanistan ………………. the country that remains in the 13th century. Tell the idiot President of Afghanistan we plan to leave, too ………. I am tired of American blood being spilled for his corrupt government. I would like to see Mullah Omar remain on our hit list.

SC.Charlie on May 12, 2011 at 7:01 PM