(FILES) In this photograph taken on September 23, 2012, dust kicks off the ground during an operation by US Army soldiers attached to the 2nd platoon, C-Coy. 1-23 Infantry based at Zangabad foward operating base in Panjwai ditrict after Anti Personnel Obstacle Breaching System -- abbreviated as A-POBS (charges fired by rocket and trigger safe detonation of IED's used to make roadside bombs) -- detonate on a nearby road during a dawn operation at Naja-bien village.   With the end of the US surge in Afghanistan, the Taliban have survived the biggest military onslaught the West will throw at them -- and fears are growing that a disastrous new civil war looms. The last of the extra 33,000 soldiers President Barack Obama deployed nearly three years ago left late last month, and the remaining NATO force of some 112,000 will follow by the end of 2014.    AFP PHOTO/Tony KARUMBA/ FILES        (Photo credit should read TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)
Obama to slash troops in Afghanistan
00:49 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

NEW: The Afghan military says it's ready to defend the country

Obama announces that by February 2014, 34,000 U.S. forces will be home

80% of registered voters support the president's policy to end the Afghanistan war, poll shows

The White House has been considering a range of troop levels to remain in Afghanistan

President Barack Obama announced in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night that some 34,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan will have returned home by this time next year.

The move will reduce the number of U.S. forces in the country by more than half. There are now about 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

A Washington Post poll on Tuesday showed that 80% of registered voters support the president’s policy to end the war in Afghanistan.

In January, Obama met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Washington, where they agreed to accelerate the military transition in Afghanistan.