Obama: US to Maintain 8,400 Troops in Afghanistan into Next Year

WHITE HOUSE—
U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan to maintain 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through the end of his presidency leaves many unanswered questions about the best path forward as the security situation continues to worsen, experts said.

The administration had initially planned to reduce the number of U.S. troops from the current 9,800 to around 5,500 by the end of 2016. But Obama said Wednesday that the security situation in Afghanistan «remains precarious» and so he is leaving more troops than originally planned through the end of his administration.

«The Taliban remains a threat. They’ve gained ground in some cases, they’ve continued attacks and suicide bombings including in Kabul,» Obama said. «Because the Taliban deliberately target civilians more Afghan men, women and children are dying and often overlooked in the global refugee crisis.»