Obama will leave 8,400 troops in Afghanistan through end of his term
Stars and Stripes | .
published: July 07, 2016
WASHINGTON — The United States will keep 8,400 troops in Afghanistan through the end of President Barack Obama’s term, thousands more than he had hoped to leave in the war-torn country.
The president said Wednesday that he would slow his planned drawdown of troops. In October, he announced he would leave 5,500 troops in Afghanistan at the end of his presidency. The decision leaves an important policy decision to Obama’s successor, who will take office Jan. 20. There are now 9,800 American servicemembers in Afghanistan.
“The decision I’m making today ensures that my successor has a solid foundation for progress in Afghanistan, as well as the flexibility to address the threat of terrorism as it evolves,” Obama said Wednesday at the White House, flanked by Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
It was the second time that Obama adjusted his plans to drawdown American troops in Afghanistan since the United States officially ended its combat role there at the end of 2014. Initially, the president announced he intended to leave only an embassy security force of about 1,000 troops in the country, where the United States has been at war since the end of 2001, shortly after al-Qaida terrorists attacked New York and Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11. 2001.