Pentagon Advising 10,000 Troops Stay in Afghanistan — or None

But a spokeswoman said the president has yet to make a final decision.

U.S. Marines walk on top of their Light Armored Vehicles (LAVs) while on patrol near the American military compound at Kandahar Airport January 16, 2002 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
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Jordain Carney
Jan. 22, 2014, 2:54 a.m.

Mil­it­ary lead­ers are ad­vising the ad­min­is­tra­tion to keep either 10,000 troops in Afgh­anistan after 2014 or none, seni­or of­fi­cials said.

“The pro­pos­al is 10,000 or ba­sic­ally noth­ing, a pul­lout,” an of­fi­cial told The New York Times. Few­er troops, of­fi­cials warn, would be un­able to pro­tect per­son­nel re­main­ing in Afgh­anistan.

But the Pentagon’s sug­ges­tion is a con­trast to the num­ber of troops — pos­sibly 2,000 to 3,000 — that The Wall Street Journ­al re­por­ted Vice Pres­id­ent Joe Biden is ur­ging. A seni­or ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial denied that re­port, say­ing the vice pres­id­ent has neither re­com­men­ded nor re­jec­ted a spe­cif­ic troop num­ber.

Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials wouldn’t con­firm a sep­ar­ate Wall Street Journ­al re­port that un­der the Pentagon’s plan, all troops would be out of the coun­try by the end of Pres­id­ent Obama’s term.

A bi­lat­er­al se­cur­ity agree­ment between the United States and Afgh­anistan would keep troops in the coun­try un­til 2024. But Afghan Pres­id­ent Ham­id Kar­zai has pushed sign­ing the agree­ment un­til after the coun­try’s elec­tions later this year.

Caitlin Hay­den, a spokes­wo­man for the White House Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Coun­cil, said, “The pres­id­ent has not yet made de­cisions about fi­nal troop num­bers.”


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