Obama wants to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Obama wants to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014

Posted: Updated:
Pres. Barack Obama at the White House. AP photo Pres. Barack Obama at the White House. AP photo
By Peter Alexander and Erin McClam, NBC News

(NBC) - President Barack Obama will announce Tuesday that he wants to keep 9,800 military personnel in Afghanistan after the American combat mission ends there this year, a senior administration official told NBC News.

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 administration official said.

The plan assumes that Afghan leaders will sign a security agreement with the United States. Both Afghan presidential candidates have committed to signing it if they are elected, the official noted.

The presidential runoff is next month. Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai frustrated American decision-making by refusing to sign a security agreement.

Obama plans to make a formal announcement about the Afghan troop presence later in the day, the official said.

American forces in Afghanistan number about 33,000 today. Obama told troops over the weekend that the 13-year war, the longest in American history, had reached a pivotal point and that Afghan forces are assuming responsibility for their own country’s security.

“America’s war in Afghanistan will come to a responsible end,” the president said in a surprise visit to Bagram Air Base.


Powered by Frankly