Updated 3:26 p.m. | President Barack Obama announced Tuesday he intends to keep thousands of troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014, but would pull out most of the remaining forces by the end of 2016.
Obama said he plans to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan at the start of 2015, provided the next president of Afghanistan signs a new security agreement, as expected. The troop levels would be cut roughly in half by the end of 2015, with troops consolidated to Bagram Airfield.
“When I took office, we had nearly 180,000 troops in harm’s way,” Obama said. “By the end of this year, we will have less than 10,000.”
Obama said the troops staying in Afghanistan would no longer be responsible for combat missions to secure the country, but would continue to target terrorists and train and advise the Afghans.
One top Republican senator on military issues was quick to say that Obama’s plan “emboldens the enemy.” Full story