Report: Troops Are Staying in Afghanistan, For Now

Posted: May 27, 2014 12:45 PM

Last January the president announced in his annual State of the Union address that the War in Afghanistan would officially end on January 1, 2015. “Together with our allies, we will complete our mission there by the end of this year, and America’s longest war will finally be over,” he said. “After 2014, we will support a unified Afghanistan as it takes responsibility for its own future. If the Afghan government signs a security agreement that we have negotiated, a small force of Americans could remain in Afghanistan with NATO allies to carry out two narrow missions: training and assisting Afghan forces, and counterterrorism operations to pursue any remnants of al Qaeda. “

For what it's worth, the U.S. government is still waiting for the government of Afghanistan to sign that agreement. Nevertheless, Fox News is reporting that the president will announce later today that he is keeping a lingering force of roughly 10,000 U.S. ground troops in the war-torn country after 2014:

President Obama is looking to keep 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the war formally ends later this year, according to a senior administration official.

The president plans to address the military plans for Afghanistan on Tuesday afternoon.

There will reportedly be two phased withdrawals over the next two years: the first will come at the end of 2015, in which half of the 9,800-member force will supposedly come home; the rest will be evacuated the following year before President Obama leaves office. However, the details of this proposed plan are not yet set in stone:

The two-year plan is contingent on the Afghan government signing a bilateral security agreement with the U.S. While current Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign the agreement, U.S. officials are confident that either of the candidates seeking to replace him will give his approval.

Thus, when the agreement is accepted and signed by both countries as expected, there will be no U.S. ground troops in Afghanistan after 2016.