No decision yet on troop numbers: White House
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): US president Barack Obama has not yet taken any decision on the number of troops to be staying in Afghanistan after 2014 in case of a signed bilateral security agreement, the White House said on Tuesday, refuting a media report in this regard.
“The President has not yet made any decision on the number of troops he may keep in Afghanistan if the Afghan government signs the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA),” the National Security Council spokesman at the White House told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Reuters news agency reported on Monday that US officials were considering keeping a smaller US presence in Afghanistan — possibly fewer than 5,000 troops — to focus on counterterrorism or training operations.
“If we have a signed BSA and a committed Afghan partner, a post-2014 mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan forces and go after the remnants of Al Qaida could be in the interests of the United States and Afghanistan,” Laura Lucas Magnuson said on Tuesday.
“However, the longer we go without a BSA, the more challenging it will be to plan and execute any U.S. mission. Furthermore, the longer we go without a BSA, the more likely it will be that any post-2014 U.S. mission will be smaller in scale and ambition.”
Meanwhile, the Pentagon also said no decision had been made so far on the number of residual troops in Afghanistan.
Said Jawad, a former Afghan Ambassador to the US, said the report was a distressing sign of diminishing support for the Afghan mission in the United States.
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