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US troop drawdown plans due by mid-October; commanders concerned about Ramadan fighting
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) ' The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has until mid-October to submit a plan for the initial withdrawal of American troops. His decisions may hinge in part on whether the latest surge in attacks continues through the holy month of Ramadan.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says commanders are hearing that Taliban leaders may try to regain lost ground during the Islamic holy period, which begins Monday.
Mullen says Marine Gen. John Allen, who has just taken over as top U.S. commander here, needs time to evaluate security needs and put together a detailed withdrawal plan.
Mullen's comments for the first time laid out a deadline for Allen to submit plans for withdrawing 10,000 U.S. troops by the end of the year.