Barack Obama to reduce Afghanistan presence to 9,800 soldiers

By Kyle Johnson,

President Barack Obama plans to announce on Tuesday that 9,800 soldiers will remain in Afghanistan after 2014, but there will be a continued reduction by the time he leaves office.

Three senior administration officials revealed the news, reports USA Today, with one noting, "He will make clear that we are open to continued efforts in Afghanistan on two narrow missions after 2014: training Afghan forces and supporting CT (counterterrorism) operations against the remnants of al-Qaeda."

The official added, "We will only sustain a military presence after 2014 if the Afghan government signs with the Bilateral Security Agreement."

In 2015 troops stationed in Kabul and Bagram Air base would be consolidated and reduced to about half, so that by 2016 there would only be a "normal embassy presence" in the country.

According to Reuters, the United States currently has about 32,000 troops located in Afghanistan. The move would continue Obama's aim to draw to an end the war in the Middle East country.

Republicans aren't happy with plan, with House of Representatives' Armed Services Committee Howard McKeon saying, "Holding this mission to an arbitrary egg time doesn't make a lick of sense strategically."

Sen. Lindsey Grham (R-S.C.) also criticized the move saying that the president could see a repeat of "some of the same mistakes he made in Iraq."

image courtesy of INFphoto.com

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