President Barack Obama is planning to have 9,800 United States troops remain in Afghanistan after the war in the Afghanistan formally ends this year, according to a Yahoo! News report on Tuesday. Most of those troops will be withdrawn by 2016, says a senior Obama administration official. This plan will completely end the United States military’s involvement in Afghanistan by the time President Obama leaves office at the end of his second and final term.
Sources say that this plan by the president is, for the most part, in agreement with what the United States’ military commanders have wanted. However, the plan – over two years – is contingent on whether the government in Afghanistan signs a bilateral security agreement with the United States. At this time, Afghan’s president, Hamid Karzai, refuses to sign the agreement, but officials in the United States are quite confident that his future replacement will approve the bilateral security agreement.
Currently, there are 32,000 United States troops in Afghanistan. The plan is to reduce that number to 9,800 by the beginning of 2015. Of the remaining troops, they would be dispatched throughout the country and focus on counterterrorism missions as well as involved with the training of Afghanistan’s security forces. None of them would be engaged in any of Afghanistan’s combat missions.
Within the next year, by mid-2015, the number of remaining troops – according to the plan – will be cut in half and consolidated in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, and at Bagram Air Field which is the main United States base in the country. By the end of 2016, fewer than 1,000 troops will remain in the country to staff a security office in the nation’s capital. President Obama is to publicly announce the plan on Tuesday at the White House, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.