New president to decide on future troop levels: White House
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The next US president will decide on the presence and number of American troops in Afghanistan after 2016, the White House said on Wednesday.
The Obama administration planned to draw down the troops to about 5,500 by January 2017, White House Press SecretaryJosh Earnesttold reporters at his daily news conference.
“Moving forward, the next commander-in-chief and his/her national security team, taking advice from commanders on the ground in Afghanistan, will have to determine what sort of troop presence is appropriate for that country,” he said.
Earnest was responding to questions on reports that US troops would be in Afghanistan for a long period. “What the president envisions is a continued decrease in that number, but ultimately, it's a decision for the next president.”
America’s goal was to destroy the core Al-Qaeda cell that had planned and supported the worst terrorist attack on US soil back in 2001 had been achieved, the White House spokesman asserted.
The US had envisioned a long-term partnership with the government of Afghanistan, he said, calling economic development and shoring up governing structures of the country a long-term commitment.
“But, right now, there's a military presence inside of Afghanistan by the United States and our NATO partnersto focus on counterterrorism and on continuing to train and advise Afghan troops,” he said.
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