‘US Troop Size in Afghanistan May Cut to 5,000’
KABUL – The United States is likely to keep about 5,000 troops post-2014 in Afghanistan as the longest war in American history winds down, an official said on Tuesday. Soon after Afghanistan’s April 5 elections, the Pentagon, White House and State Department officials were in discussions on how many American troops should remain in the country after the US-led coalition ends its mission this year, Reuters reported.
The decision to consider a small force presence, possibly less than 5,000 US troops, reflects a belief among White House officials that Afghan security forces have evolved into a robust force to contain a still- potent Taliban-led insurgency. The small US force would focus on counter-terrorism or training operations.
That belief, the officials say, is based partly on Afghanistan’s surprisingly smooth election, which has won international praise for its high turnout, estimated at 60 percent of 12 million eligible voters, and the failure of Taliban militants to stage high-profile attacks that day. The Obama administration has been looking at options for a possible residual US force for months.