From Agence France Presse via Raw Story:
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates rejected suggestions Sunday that US forces will move out of Afghanistan in large numbers in July of next year under a deadline set by President Barack Obama.
"That absolutely has not been decided," Gates said in an interview with Fox News Sunday.
His comment was the latest indication that the magnitude of the drawdown, if not the deadline itself, is the subject of an intensifying internal debate at a time when a NATO-led campaign against the Taliban is going slower than expected.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel…like Gates, said that the size of the drawdown would depend on conditions on the ground…..
General David Petraeus, the commander of US forces in the Middle East, said last week that in setting the deadline for the surge last year, Obama's message was "one of urgency—not that July 2011 is when we race for the exits, reach for the light switch and flip it off."
Petraeus told lawmakers he would be duty-bound to recommend delaying the redeployment of forces if he thought it necessary.