Hopefully by mid to the latter part of 2013 well be able to make a transition from a combat role to a training, advise and assist role, Panetta said. His comment, while en route to Brussels for a NATO meeting, was confirmed to CNN by a defense official.
That comment can be taken many ways - and I would expect that the transition will be a gradual one.
To summarise, the US will be "ending its combat role in the second half of 2013" and is still aiming to be completely out by the end of 2014. If you're surprised then you haven't been paying attention. If theres anyone out there that still thinks what we are doing in AFG is worth the cost I have yet to meet them, outside a few careerists within the Army.
I fully expect that we will be mirroring this timetable so we are one, two tops, HERRICKs away from starting to turn off the Ops cycle. Probably about time to start thinking about what to do with the Army after HERRICK then. Oh, and if the current government doesn't see it as an opportunity to shift some more soldiers into the Reserves I shall eat my hat.
Actually the OP not such a dick. CNN did say American troops would be withdrawing from Afghanistan next year as a "breaking news" story. They then changed it to they would be ending operations in 2013. This was followed by ending combat operations.