Afghanistan in Transition

The following timeline provides information on key steps taken by the United States, since President Obama came into office, and other NATO and non-NATO members to help Afghans take charge of their own security. This transition is part of a broad strategy to build long-term security for the Afghans and the wider region, and to ensure that Afghanistan can never again be a safe haven for terrorists.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Reece Lodder)

President Obama’s inauguration

At the time of President Barack Obama’s inauguration there are 36,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan among NATO’s 68,000-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

U.S. pledges troop increase

In a White House statement, President Obama pledges an increase of 17,000 U.S. troops to join the ISAF coalition, noting that “this increase is necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.” ISAF will eventually reach 50 NATO and non-NATO countries contributing troops and other vital resources.

Troop “Surge”

President Obama, during a keynote speech at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, announces his decision to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, as part of a “surge” that will bring the total number of coalition forces to 130,000.

London conference on afghanistan

At the International Conference on Afghanistan in London, attended by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and representatives from over 70 countries and international organizations, a plan is developed for the phased transition to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) taking the security lead throughout the country.

nato lisbon summit

During the NATO Summit in Lisbon, NATO and Afghanistan sign a Declaration on Enduring Partnership to mark NATO’s continued commitment to Afghanistan and provide a political framework for future enhanced cooperation.

Tranche One

President Karzai announces the first set, or “tranche,” of Afghan provinces and districts to start transition to an ANSF security lead, based on assessments and recommendations by NATO/ISAF and the Afghan government.

“the tide of war is receding”

In a White House speech, President Obama notes progress made in Afghanistan, declaring “the tide of war is receding,” and announces that 10,000 U.S. troops will be withdrawn by the end of 2011, with the remaining 23,000 U.S. troops from the “surge” leaving by the end of September 2012.

NATO Chicago summit

During the NATO Summit in Chicago, NATO Allies approve a plan to withdraw most of the 130,000 foreign troops by the end of 2014, and they agree to a follow-on NATO-led non-combat mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan security forces beyond 2014.

tokyo conference on afghanistan

At the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan, representatives from 55 countries and 25 international organizations “established a renewed stronger foundation for partnership to support sustainable growth and development of Afghanistan,” including financial commitments from several countries. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announces that a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghanistan has gone into effect.

ANSF Progress

Following President Karzai’s announcement of the fourth “tranche” of Afghan provinces, cities, and districts entering the transition process, 87 percent of the Afghan population have entered into or live in areas where the ANSF has security responsibility.

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