9,800 US Troops To Remain In Afghanistan After War’s ‘Official’ End
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Heeding the advice of most military commanders on the ground, President Obama will seek to keep 9,800 U.S. service members in Afghanistan past the official deadline to withdraw combat troops, according to The Associated Press.
The president's plan would reduce the U.S. military force in Afghanistan from the 32,000 troops there now, down to 9,800 by the beginning of 2015.
Those troops would be dispatched throughout Afghanistan and focus on counterterrorism missions and training Afghan security forces.
They would not be engaged in combat missions.
A senior administration official told NBC News that a reduction of U.S. troops would continue until Obama's presidency comes to a close:
That figure would be cut in half by the end of 2015, and the American contingent would be reduced to “a normal Embassy presence” by the end of 2016, as Obama is close to leaving office...
The Washington Post reports the president's plan isn't a done deal. He needs Afghanistan’s new president to sign a bilateral security agreement to make it happen. The current Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has so far refused to sign that agreement. However:
The two candidates in a runoff election scheduled for June 14 have both said they will sign the accord.
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