According to the statement Punnett, produced on board the aircraft during the flight to Brussels at the upcoming summit of NATO defense ministers, to the middle, maybe by the end of 2013, the U.S. move to rely on the combat training function, in consultation with Afghan security forces.
In principle, the Punnett not told anything new. Obama read the withdrawal of troops from the area Afghanistan in the summer of 2011, having promised by the end of the year to bring 10 thousand fighter, and for 2012 — another 33 thousand. At this point military U.S. Army troops on the ground Afghanistan numbers 91 a thousand soldiers, being the backbone for the 132000th groups allied forces.
In October 2011 there was a statement the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, John Allen, who bluntly said that the Americans in any case remain in the country even after the official withdrawal of the military forces of NATO, which is scheduled for 2014 year. He stressed that although some people and could hear that in 2014 the U.S. will leave Afghanistan, in fact they will still be there very long.
Note that the timetable for the withdrawal of troops is exactly the same as the U.S. political calendar, allowing Obama to make a statement during the election campaign that he led troops from Iraq and begun reducing its military presence in Afghanistan, the withdrawal of the U.S. military strikes from the Taliban.
When Obama took office, military U.S. troops on the ground Afghanistan consisted of only 38 thousand people, but the head of the white houses tripled its number increment, hoping to break the resistance of the "Taliban".