Petraeus said Wednesday the initial wave of troop withdrawals in July will probably include combat as well as non-combat forces. He mentioned no numbers, nor did he identify which combat units might be pulled out to begin what Obama has called a responsible winding down of the war by 2014.
It is widely expected that a large share — if not the majority — of those initial American withdrawals will be support forces, such as logistics specialists who helped in last year's U.S. troop buildup. Petraeus has said he foresees a tough combat season ahead this spring and summer.
The general said that in formulating his recommendation to Obama he will take into account several factors, including the capabilities of Afghan security forces, progress in improving the Afghan government's ability to deliver basic services, and the extent to which ordinary Afghans see their government as legitimate.