The White House has settled on the number of troops it wants to leave in Afghanistan post-2014: 10,000. Gen. John Allen had recommended keeping between 6,000 and 15,000 troops there after formal combat ends to train Afghan troops and fight terrorism. The Obama administration's final choice may signal its belief that such a number would be palatable to Americans and Afghans and not overly strain our military, the Wall Street Journal reports. Defense analysts, on the other hand, have recommended a presence as large as 30,000 in order to maintain stability.
White House officials hope to find agreement with Kabul on the number before determining how the withdrawal of the 66,000 troops currently in the country will be paced over the next two years. But Hamid Karzai must give the OK to keeping US forces in the country at all, though sources say he's inclined to do so—so long as several demands are met. One of the biggest: He wants those troops to be under Afghan courts' jurisdiction. A similar demand scuttled US-Iraq talks last year, which is why there are no residual US force in that country.