Code 58124
PublishDate: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 18:24

General Says 20,000 Troops Should Stay in Afghanistan

President Obama has not decided on the size of any troop deployment after 2014, which would also require agreement with the government in Kabul.

The American commander in the Middle East said on that he had recommended that 13,600 United States troops remain in Afghanistan after the combat mission ends in 2014, a number slightly higher than the one being considered by NATO and Pentagon officials.

The officer, Gen. James N. Mattis of the Central Command, revealed his recommendation during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he also said that a NATO contribution to an enduring mission in Afghanistan could equal half of the American deployment, for a total alliance troop presence of 20,000 under his proposal.

President Obama has not decided on the size of any troop deployment after 2014, which would also require agreement with the government in Kabul.

During a session of NATO defense ministers last month, alliance officials discussed a proposal for training, support and counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan after 2014 that envisioned a force of up to 9,500 American troops and up to 6,000 more from other coalition nations.

George Little, the Pentagon press secretary, said those talks focused on a smaller range of 8,000 to 12,000 troops over all, including American and allied contributions. There are about 66,000 American troops in Afghanistan today, with that number to drop to 32,000 by early next year.
(Time World)

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