Obama to Announce US Troops to Remain in Afghanistan After 2016
According to the New York Times newspaper, as many as 9,800 troops will remain in the country in 2016. The number of US servicemen in Afghanistan will then stand at around 5,500 at the end of 2016 or early 2017.
Those remaining in Afghanistan will advise and train the country’s forces as well as look for militants from al-Qaeda, Islamic State and other groups, the newspaper reported.
The US-led NATO combat force withdrew from Afghanistan in December 2014 after a 14-year occupation. However, over 10,000 US military personnel remain in the country, training Afghan security forces and conducting counterterrorism operations as part of the Resolute Support mission.
The current US plan was to end its military presence in Afghanistan by December 2016, closing the remaining US bases in the country. Last week, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told reporters that the United States was considering different options for adjusting its military presence in Afghanistan in 2016 and beyond.
The militant groups Islamic State, the Taliban and al-Qaeda are all currently operating in Afghanistan.