Newspaper article International New York Times

Obama Weighs Afghan Force Level ; 10,000 Troops Proposed by Pentagon, or None at All, after Year-End Pullout

Newspaper article International New York Times

Obama Weighs Afghan Force Level ; 10,000 Troops Proposed by Pentagon, or None at All, after Year-End Pullout

Article excerpt

The Pentagon has proposed to President Obama that 10,000 American troops remain in Afghanistan when the international combat mission there ends after this year, or none at all, senior officials said.

The Pentagon has proposed to President Obama that 10,000 United States troops remain in Afghanistan when the international combat mission there ends after this year, or none at all, senior government officials this week.

The figure, debated in recent days within the White House, is the midpoint of a range of 8,000 to 12,000 troops -- most of them Americans -- that has been contemplated for months as the United States and its NATO allies planned for the long mission's end.

Anything less than that, the officials said Tuesday, would be too few to protect the reduced retinue of diplomats, military and intelligence officials that remain in Afghanistan.

"The proposal is 10,000 or basically nothing, a pullout," said one official who has been briefed on the plan but spoke on the condition of anonymity about the administration's deliberations.

The intelligence agencies and the State Department, which would have personnel remaining in Afghanistan after 2014, back the Defense Department's proposal, the officials said.

But it has met resistance among some officials in the White House National Security Council, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who question why the choice has to be 10,000 troops or zero, and nothing in between.

About 37,500 American troops are in Afghanistan now, about twice as many as the number of troops from other countries.

Administration officials declined to confirm a report in The Wall Street Journal that the military's plan would call for quickly withdrawing the troops so that none remained by the time Mr. Obama leaves office in January 2017.

That is a far more rapid departure than previously considered for residual forces. A pending agreement with President Hamid Karzai would allow for an American presence until 2024. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.