US Troops May Stay in Afghanistan Until 2024

Telegraph : Deal would keep 'thousands'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2011 12:36 PM CDT
Marine Adam Lopez, 25, of Granbury, Texas, pulls security during a patrol through the Kajaki district of Helmand province, Afghanistan, last month.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)

(Newser) – The US already has spent a decade fighting in Afghanistan, and the Telegraph suggests it might spend a decade or so more. The British paper reports that US and Afghan officials are close to a deal that would keep "thousands" of US troops in the country until 2024—not just military trainers but special forces and air power. They would remain after the formal handover of power to the Afghan military in 2014.

The Pentagon is drawing down US troops in Afghanistan in anticipation of that deadline, and the Telegraph isn't specific on just how many would remain under this deal. The report quotes Hamid Karzai's top security adviser: “If they train our police and soldiers, then those trainers will not be 10 or 20, they will be thousands." He said 2014 "is not the end of international terrorist networks and we have a common commitment to fight them. For this purpose also, the US needs facilities.” Word of the deal already is angering Pakistan, Iran, and the Taliban.

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