While attending a NATO meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta explicitly laid out a US plan to drawdown from Afghanistan. He said US and other international forces will end their combat role in 2013 and will continue in training and advisory role to Afghan forces through 2014. France is another country that recently decided to withdraw its forces by 2013, after 4 French soldiers were killed by Afghan security forces.
Panetta said the administration wants to make sure that after the departure, Afghan forces are ‘sufficient and sustainable’, but noted that it is dependent on funds from US and other allied countries. NATO has set a target of 352,000 Afghan soldiers and police for this purpose, however, US thinks a smaller force would be adequate.