President Barack Obama’s credibility, stretched thin by the broken promise of Obamacare, may soon face another difficult test: explaining how his promise to end the war in Afghanistan squares with leaving thousands of U.S. and NATO troops there.
Obama hammered away at Republican rival Mitt Romney on the issue last year, saying the former Massachusetts governor had no timetable for bringing Americans home from the country’s longest war.
“We are bringing our troops home from Afghanistan. And I've set a timetable. We will have them all out of there by 2014,” Obama said in Boulder, Colo., in September 2012. “Gov. Romney doesn't have a timetable. I think he's wrong. That's what's at stake in this election.”
“All out of there?” Even at the time, White House aides envisioned leaving behind a residual force —
troops assigned the twin missions of training local Afghan security forces and targeting extremists. That briefly flickered in January 2013 when the White House let it be known that it was