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President Obama Says U.S. Troops Are Leaving Afghanistan

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — President Barack Obama told the nation Wednesday night he’s making good on his campaign promise to back down U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Kai Jackson explains when and how many soldiers are coming home.

President Obama says U.S. servicemen and women will start coming home from Afghanistan in July, a plan already under attack from several sides.

In a televised speech from the White House, Obama told Americans he’s fulfilling a campaign promise to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan.

“Starting next month, we will be able to remove 10,000 of our troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year,” Obama said.

By September 2012, all 33,000 troops that were part of the surge will be out of Afghanistan.  The White House says progress on the ground and the killing of Osama bin Laden makes the withdrawal possible.

“Al-Qaida is under more pressure than at any time since 9/11.  Together with the Pakistanis, we have taken out more than half of their leadership,” Obama said.

The president is already getting hit with a barrage of criticism.  Some Republicans think he’s pulling troops out too fast and some in his own party say it’s not fast enough.

“We need to end these combat operations in a smarter way,” said Rep. Barbara Lee.

“I would hate to see us take an unnecessary risk by withdrawing too early,” said Sen. John McCain.

The president is also being pushed by reality.  The U.S. economy is struggling and the election is next year.

“America, it is time to focus on nation-building here at home,” Obama said.

Ten thousand troops will come home by the end of the year with a total of 33,000 troops withdrawn by next summer.

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