The White House has decided to maintain 9,800 U.S. service members in Afghanistan to support Afghan security forces until at least the end of 2015, Defense News reported Wednesday.
Paul McLeary writes President Barack Obama said during a joint press conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the White House on Tuesday that his administration’s plan to end the U.S. military’s combat role in the Middle East country remains unchanged.
“We want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help Afghan security forces succeed,” President Obama told reporters.
The White House had previously planned to cut the number of U.S. troops to 5,500 by the end of this year.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced this week that the department would commit funds to support a force of 352,000 Afghan soldiers and policemen through 2017.
The Pentagon requested $3.8 billion for that initiative in its fiscal 2016 budget, McLeary reports.