Obama: 5,500 Troops To Remain In Afghanistan After 2016 [VIDEO]

Steve Guest Media Reporter
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President Barack Obama announced Thursday the U.S. will be keeping 5,500 troops in Afghanistan after 2016, going back on a campaign promise to pull all combat personnel out of the country.

He said he is maintaining 9,800 troops in Afghanistan for the majority of 2016.

“Instead of going down to a normal embassy presence in Kabul by the end of 2016, we will maintain 5,500 troops and a small number of bases includes at Bagram, Jalalabad in the east and Kandahar in the south,” Obama said. The troops will continue with “training Afghan forces and going after al-Qaida.”

“Maintaining our current posture through most of next year rather than a more rapid drawdown, will allow us to train and assist Afghan forces as they grow stronger,” he continued. “Not only during this fighting season but into the next one.”

During the 2012 campaign, Obama promised to end the war in Afghanistan by 2014. But the beginning of 2014 when there were still 38,000 troops in Afghanistan, the plan was revised that 10,800 troops would remain in Afghanistan through the end of the year and then it would be cut in half in 2015. That, however, has not happened, because there are currently 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The presence of the bases around Afghanistan will “the reach our forces require to achieve their mission” of counterterrorism and continuing to train Afghan forces.

Regarding the 42 other nations that are allied with the United States in Afghanistan, Obama said “we will work with allies and partners to align the steps I’m announcing today with their own presence in Afghanistan after 2016.”

Obama praised the international coalition, insisting they “continue to play an indispensable role in helping Afghanistan strengthen its security forces, including respect for human rights.”

Obama articulated “because governance and development remain the foundation for stability and progress in Afghanistan, we will continue to support President Ghani and the National Unity Government as they pursue critical reforms.” Obama said, “Efforts that deliver progress for the Afghan people will continue to have the strong support of the United States.”

Obama insisted, “We cannot separate the importance of governance with the issues of security. the more effective these reforms happen, the better off the security situation’s going to be.”

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