"The Obama Administration and several of its partner countries are seeking to reduce U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan while continuing to build Afghan governing and security capacity to defend the country by the end of 2014. To secure longer term U.S. gains, on May 1, 2012, during a visit to Afghanistan, President Obama signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement that will likely keep some (perhaps 15,000--20,000) U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014 as advisors and trainers. Until then, the United States and its partners will continue to transfer overall security responsibility to Afghan security forces, with Afghan forces to assume the lead nationwide by mid-2013. As lead responsibility shifts, the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, which peaked at about 99,000 in June 2011, will be reduced to 68,000 by the end of September 2012. President Obama has said that 'reductions will continue at a steady pace' from then until the completion of the transition to Afghan lead at the end of 2014. In keeping with the Strategic Partnership Agreement, on July 7, 2012 (one day in advance of a major donors' conference on Afghanistan in Tokyo) the United States named Afghanistan a 'Major Non-NATO Ally,' further assuring Afghanistan of longterm U.S. support. […] Even if these economic efforts succeed, Afghanistan will likely remain dependent on foreign aid indefinitely. Through the end of FY2011, the United States has provided over $67 billion in assistance to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban, of which about $39 billion has been to equip and train Afghan forces. During FY2001-FY2011, the Afghan intervention has cost about $443 billion, including all costs. For FY2012, about $15 billion in aid (including train and equip) is to be provided, in addition to about $90 billion for U.S. military operations there, and $9.7 billion in aid is requested for FY2013. As announced in the context of the July 8, 2012, Tokyo donors' conference, U.S. economic aid requests are likely to continue at current levels through FY2017, according to the Administration. See CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report RS21922, 'Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance', by Kenneth Katzman."
CRS Report for Congress, RL30588