US Troops Staying in Afghanistan? New Look at Reduction Plan

BRUSSELS (AP) — Defense Secretary Ash Carter has told NATO allies that the U.S. will take a new look at its plans to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year.

That word comes from Britain’s defense secretary at a NATO meeting in Brussels. And it’s the latest indication that U.S. involvement in Afghanistan is not going to wind down in the final months of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Last week, Obama decided to give the military greater latitude to support Afghan forces against the Taliban — both in the air and on the ground.

Instead of ending the two wars he inherited, Obama is wrestling with an expanded set of conflicts as his presidency nears an end — not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in Libya and Syria — with no end in sight.

A Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan has upset Washington’s exit strategy, which called for troop reductions from 9,800 to 5,500 by the end of this year.

%@AP Links

236-a-15-(Josh Earnest, White House press secretary, at news conference)-“and other agencies”-White House press secretary Josh Earnest says President Obama is preparing to re-examine plans to withdraw thousands more U.S. troops from Afghanistan later this year, based on what military commanders there tell him. (15 Jun 2016)

<<CUT *236 (06/15/16)££ 00:15 "and other agencies"

237-a-14-(Josh Earnest, White House press secretary, at news conference)-“no denying that”-White House press secretary Josh Earnest says Afghanistan remains a dangerous place, and President Obama is ready to adjust his drawdown plans accordingly. (15 Jun 2016)

<<CUT *237 (06/15/16)££ 00:14 "no denying that"

APPHOTO VLM125: U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter listens to questions during a media conference after a meeting of NATO defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. NATO concluded a two-day meeting on Wednesday with discussions on the situation in Afghanistan and Ukraine. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo) (15 Jun 2016)

<<APPHOTO VLM125 (06/15/16)££

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