Obama consulting aides on pace of drawdown
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): US President Barack Obama is consulting his national security team and military leadership on the pace of the military drawdown from Afghanistan, the White House said on Monday.
“The president has been closely consulting with his national security team and with his commanders on the ground … about the proper pace of that military drawdown,” the White House press secretary said.
Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference the US military personnel continued to serve in Afghanistan -- to carry out some counterterrorism missions that protected the American people and the Afghans.
The American personnel are also engaged in an effort to train, advise and support Afghan security forces as they have taken security responsibility for their country.
He added Obama would listen carefully to advice from his national security team and military commanders on the pace of the drawdown.
Earnest said by the beginning of 2017, the president envisioned a scenario where the US military presence in Afghanistan would be substantially reduced to a Kabul-centric presence: protecting the embassy and focused on military coordination and cooperation.
“That would represent a substantial drawdown in the number of troops then from what our presence looked like even just a couple of years ago,” he continued.
Secretary of State John Kerry will host President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and key members of the Afghan government at Camp David on March 23.
They will discuss a range of issues including security, economic development and the Afghan-led reconciliation process. Kerry will be joined by Cabinet-level officials including Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Secretary of Treasury Jacob J. Lew and others.
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