President Barack Obama will order a “real drawdown” of U.S. forces from Afghanistan starting in July, the White House insisted Monday, a milestone in a long war that is testing the patience of the American people and Congress particularly after the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Roughly 100,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, three times as many as when Obama took office, and U.S. forces are expected to remain there through 2014.

Sometime this month, Obama is likely to announce how many troops will start coming home. The commander in chief is on record as promising a “significant” withdrawal of forces in July after having sent in an additional 30,000 troops in December 2009 to turn around a troubled war that began after the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates said over the weekend that only a “modest” drawdown would be appropriate.

Source: Ben Fuller for the Associated Press.

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