"Stated U.S. policy is to ensure that Afghanistan will not again become a base for terrorist attacks against the United States. Following three policy reviews on Afghanistan, the latest in December 2010, the Obama Administration asserts that it is pursuing a well-resourced and integrated military-civilian strategy intended to pave the way for a gradual transition to Afghan leadership that will begin in July 2011 and be completed by the end of 2014. To carry out U.S. policy, a total of 51,000 additional U.S. forces were authorized by the two 2009 reviews, bringing U.S. troop numbers to their current level of about 99,000, with partner forces adding about 42,000. Under current plans, the transition to Afghan security leadership will start with seven areas announced by President Hamid Karzai on March 22. This transition is to be accompanied by a drawdown of U.S. forces, with the specific size and scope of the drawdown reportedly to be announced later in June 2011. Amid widespread doubts that Afghan governance and security institutions will be strong enough to protect themselves by that time, U.S. officials say that the U.S. intent is for a long term relationship with Afghanistan that might include U.S. military involvement long after 2014. The start of the transition coincides with a senior personnel transition under way, announced April 28; top U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) commander General Petraeus has been named CIA Director; Lt. Gen. John Allen has been named his replacement; and Ambassador Ryan Crocker has been named to replace Karl Eikenberry as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan."
CRS Report for Congress, RL30588