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Obama: U.S. Will Slow Its Military Withdrawal From Afghanistan

President Barack Obama, accompanied by, from left, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Vice President Joe Biden, answers a questions from a member of the media about Afghanistan, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. Obama announced that he will keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan when he leaves office in 2017, casting aside his promise to end the war on his watch and instead ensuring he hands the conflict off to his successor. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
President Barack Obama, accompanied by, from left, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Vice President Joe Biden, answers a questions from a member of the media about Afghanistan, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. Obama announced that he will keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan when he leaves office in 2017, casting aside his promise to end the war on his watch and instead ensuring he hands the conflict off to his successor. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

President Barack Obama announced today that the United States will keep thousands of troops in Afghanistan through the end of his term in 2017.

The 9,800 troops currently in Afghanistan will remain there through most of 2016. By early 2017, that number will drop to 5,500.

Obama's original plan was to reduce the number of troops to 1,000 in Kabul by the start of 2017.

The announcement may indicate that Afghan security forces are not ready to defend themselves from the Taliban on their own. American troops will continue to train Afghan forces and search for al-Qaida fighters and ISIS militants.

NPR's Tom Bowman joins Here & Now's Robin Young to discuss Obama's decision.

Guest

  • Tom Bowman, NPR National Desk reporter covering the Pentagon. He tweets @TBowmanNPR.
  • Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.