Gates, Pelosi split on Afghan troop drawdown

Holly Bailey
The Upshot

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered dueling forecasts of how next year's planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan will proceed. In separate interviews with ABC's "This Week," Gates predicted only a minimal drawdown next July, while Pelosi said she expects "a few thousand" will leave.

"My personal opinion is that drawdowns early on will be of fairly limited numbers," Gates said. "And as we are successful, we'll probably accelerate. But again…it will depend on conditions on the ground."

But Pelosi pushed back , saying Americans expect a much firmer, and more extensive troop withdrawal next July. Asked about Vice President Joe Biden's recent estimate that as few as a "couple thousand" troops may leave initially, Pelosi told ABC that she hopes it's more than that. "I know it's not going to be turn out the lights and let's all go home on one day," she said. "But I do think the American people expect it to be somewhere between that and a few thousand troops."

You can watch Pelosi, Gates and Biden's comments on the planned drawdown here, courtesy of ABC News:

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