Obama yet to decide on troop level: White House
WASHINGTON (PAN): US President Barack Obama has not yet decided on the troop level to be maintained in Afghanistan after 2014, when security transition to Afghan forces is scheduled to complete, the White House said on Monday.
“He (Obama) has not (decided),” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters, when asked about media reports on the post-2014 troop level in Afghanistan.
Obama would review two options -- a continued presence in Afghanistan and training Afghan forces. “And that’s continued beyond the 2014 deadline when we will wind down our participation in the war in Afghanistan,” the spokesman said.
Carney reiterated the president had neither reviewed the options nor made any decisions but he would honour his commitment to a drawdown of of the surge forces over the course of the next two years. The pace of that drawdown is a decision that Obama will be making in coming weeks and months.
Obama, he said, would evaluate proposals from the Pentagon and elsewhere on what the US might negotiate with the Afghan government on a future presence after they met their commitment to end the war in 2014.
Separately, the Pentagon categorically denied arriving at a decision on the troop level before and after 2014, noting discussions in this regard were ongoing and a decision would soon be announced soon.
“It is entirely premature to speculate on the troop numbers in Afghanistan between now and the end of 2014 or beyond,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said during an off-camera news conference.
Little said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was scheduled to hold a teleconference with the head of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, on Tuesday, when these issues would be discussed.
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