Pentagon: Discussion of Afghanistan Troop Numbers 'Premature'

Pentagon: Discussion of Afghanistan Troop Numbers 'Premature'  by Chris Carroll, Stars and Stripes.

The Pentagon says it plans to tell the White House within weeks how many American troops military leaders believe will be needed in Afghanistan after 2014 to train local forces and continue to target al-Qaida.

With NATO’s formal combat role set to end in just over two years, the United States -- along with its NATO allies and the Afghan government -- is keen to define a postwar presence well in advance, avoiding the precipitous pullout and security problems that came with the end of the Iraq War.

The troop calculations, however, have to achieve a delicate balance that weighs military capability against the U.S. public’s weariness of continuing conflict – and meets Afghan expectations of the residual force...

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