No final decision yet on number of troops beyond 2014
KABUL (Pajhwok): Some NATO and US officials say it seems that more than 12,000 foreign troops, including American counter terrorist forces, will remain in Afghanistan after the formal withdrawal by the end of this year.
US president Barack Obama last week announced he plans to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan until 2016 if the Afghan government signs the bilateral security agreement.
NATO officials in Brussels said NATO personnel would stay in Afghanistan under the proposed Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the Afghan government to embark on the new mission of training, advising and assisting the Afghan forces beyond 2014.
A high-tanking NATO official in Brussels told Pajhwok that half of the American residual troops would assist the NATO new mission of training and advising Afghan forces and the remaining half would carry out counterinsurgency operations.
The official said it seemed that between 8,000 and 12000 troops from NATO allies and ISAF partners would remain in Afghanistan post-2014 to keep training Afghan forces.
However, the source said a final decision in this regard was yet to be made and hoped the ongoing NATO defence ministerial meeting would discuss the issue.
The two-day defence ministerial meeting began on Tuesday in Brussels, where NATO is headquartered, to discuss the situation in Ukraine and Georgia and the security situation in Afghanistan.
Afghan defence minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi is expected to raise the issue of Pakistani rocket attacks into eastern Afghan provinces at the meeting
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