Obama looking at long term presence of force in Afghanistan: White House

Washington: US President Barack Obama is looking at the possibilities of a long-term large presence of American troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016, in the backdrop of the temporarily takeover of Kunduz city by the Taliban.
Under the current policy, American troops are scheduled to be reduced to embassy level presence by the end of 2016. Currently there are about 10,000 US troops mainly engaged in training, aid and advise mission in Afghanistan.

No decision in this regard has been made yet, said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. “The reason that the US got involved in Afghanistan in the first place was because of the concern about the threat of terrorists that have been operating in Afghanistan and in the region”, he said.

US, he said, has made important progress against extremists in Afghanistan. “However, there continues to be a terror threat emanating from Afghanistan. It’s not on the same scale of what of the risk, pre-9/11, but it’s still a risk that we do not take lightly,” he said.

“It is important for, in the mind of the President, for the US to preserve our counter-terrorism capabilities inside of Afghanistan – both because of the impact that would have on the stability of the central government in Afghanistan, but also because of the impact that would have on the core national security interests of the US,” Earnest said.

Responding to a question, he acknowledged that there is an upcoming policy decision that the president has to make about our ongoing military posture inside of Afghanistan.

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