President Obama will address the nation at 8 p.m. Wednesday to outline his administration’s plan for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.
It is unclear what withdrawal schedule or levels the president will announce.
News outlets have published conflicting reports on how many troops Obama plans to withdraw. Some reports have put the plan at 30,000 by the end of 2012, while others say Obama will announce the recall of 5,000 troops in July.
The speech comes about a week after the usually hawkish Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) urged the Obama administration to accelerate its planned withdrawal from Afghanistan. Dicks's comments are among the latest by members of Congress criticizing the war. Nevertheless, congressional efforts to establish a firm withdrawal timeline have failed.
Earlier this month Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that Obama had to factor low public approval and decreasing congressional support for the Afghan war into his withdrawal plan.
“You can’t be oblivious to the growing war weariness at home, and diminishing support in the Congress,” Gates said. “I think these are all things the president will have to weigh and those of us advising him will have to weigh as well.”
Gates's comments echoed the findings of a number of polls that found a majority of Americans ready for U.S. troops to leave Afghanistan.
Gates is set to meet with Obama on Tuesday in a closed meeting in the Oval Office.
In late 2010 Obama announced a timeframe for a troop drawdown that he said would begin in July 2011. His plan said that in 2014 the U.S. would give the Afghan government control of security responsibilities.