U.S. Troops Drawdown in Afghanistan

U.S. Troops Drawdown in Afghanistan

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MOBILE, Ala. - The United States is entering its 13th year fighting the war in Afghanistan.

The 190 men and women of the 226th maneuver enhancement brigade are the latest from our area to make it back home.

"They work with the local police districts in Kabul and they also did some infrastructure projects to help support the area as some of their missions drew down," said LTC Shannon Hancock with the Alabama Army National Guard.

LTC Shannon Hancock says, at the height of the war, Alabama had on average, 15 hundred soldiers deployed each year. That number is down to about 500 to 600 since President Obama announced the draw down of U.S. military forces three years ago. The transition of power to Afghan forces is schedule to be complete by the end of the year, but that may prove to be easier said than done.

"It's a difficult balance. At some point they've got to stand on their own, but we can't let them stand on their own when they are not ready and they are not ready. And they are saying to us we're not ready," said Congressman Bradley Byrne.

Byrne sits on the House Armed Services Committee. He says the major concern right now is the Afghan president not signing a security pact, and without it, U.S. troops will have to leave by the end of the year.

"I think there's great concern of our up and leaving so quickly because we're concerned with the regime will be destabilized, the taliban come back in and all these years, all these people like the 226 who have been over there serving, and 4 thousand plus American lives lost and we just give it all up and let the Taliban come back in? I think we are all very concerned about that," Byrne said.

Furthering tensions, on Thursday, the Afghan government released 65 detainees who the United States warned pose a serious security threat. Some soldiers say they are just hoping for the best outcome, "There's a lot going on with it. I don't know the ends and out. just stuff on the news. I just hope it all works out for the better for everyone," said one soldier.

Others soldiers have a stronger opinion about what the U.S. needs to do, "I think it is time for us to get out. because right now they are having a hard time with president Karzi and with him releasing those prisoners,. yeah. I think it's time for us to get out," said MSGT Dexter Brown.

About 38 thousand U.S. troops are currently in Afghanistan.

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