Obama may keep more US troops in Afghanistan
KABUL (Pajhwok): Scheduled to meet next week, the US and Afghan leaders are likely to confer on a shift in Washington’s troop drawdown plans, an American newspaper reported.
Due in Washington on his maiden US visit as president, Ghani has reportedly asked the Obama administration to keep the maximum number of forces in the country for as long as possible.
Additionally, US commanders have also recommended a slower pullout, the New York Times reported, calling Ghani’s willingness to work with the US “a big deal” for President Barrack Obama.
Last month, Defence Secretary Ashton B. Carter had indicated the possibility of slowing the withdrawal from Afghanistan, citing improved relations under Ashraf Ghani.
US officials concluded last week that many of the 10,000 troops and thousands of civilian contractors in Afghanistan would be needed well into 2016, the prestigious daily said.
But the exact number of American troops staying in Afghanistan in 2016 is still under wraps. “Keeping the number of troops closer to 10,000 would also allow the American-led coalition to maintain two large bases in the south and east.
One base is located in Kandahar, Taliban’s birthplace, and the other in Nangarhar. It was from the Jalalabad base that the US launched the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden in Pakistan’s garrison city of Abbottabad.
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