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Obama to Keep 9.8K Troops in Afghanistan

But next Afghan leader has to sign the BSA
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2014 11:12 AM CDT
Obama to Keep 9.8K Troops in Afghanistan
President Obama gestures while speaking to troops at Bagram Air Field north of Kabul, Afghanistan, during an unannounced visit, on Sunday, May 25, 2014.   (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – On the heels of his surprise visit to American troops in Afghanistan, President Obama today will put the number of troops he intends to keep there at 9,800, with the intent to call most of those home by 2016. But there's a "but": Kabul, soon to be led by someone other than Hamid Karzai, must sign the bilateral security agreement that Karzai has so fiercely resisted. As the AP notes, the White House is pretty confident that either candidate seeking the presidency will sign. With US troop levels currently at 32,000, Washington would draw down levels to 9,800 by the end of this year, with fewer than 1,000 remaining after 2016. The official announcement, set for this afternoon, is in line with what the Pentagon has sought. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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