President Obama says the U.S. will slow the drawdown of American troops from Afghanistan.
In a joint news conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday, Obama said the U.S. will maintain about 9,800 troops through the end of 2015, instead of cutting the U.S. force to 5,500 as planned.
The AP adds:
“‘Afghanistan remains a very dangerous place,’ Obama said in explaining his decision at a press conference after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s first visit to the White House since his election six months ago. Obama added that the size of the U.S. troop presence for 2016 will be decided later this year.
“Ghani had asked Obama to slow the withdrawal because Afghan security forces are bracing for a tough spring fighting season and are also contending with Islamic State fighters looking to recruit on their soil.”
Obama said U.S. troops will continue to play a non-combat role in Afghanistan. Afghan forces, said Obama, have full responsibility for the security of their country.