While President Obama's decision to increase the number of U.S. troops who stay in Afghanistan going into 2017 falls roughly in line with critics, lawmakers on Capitol Hill say the force of 5,500 troops isn't enough to ensure the country's security.
Obama on Tuesday said the "fragile" state of security in Afghanistan will require U.S. troops to stay in the country past 2017. "Afghan forces are still not as strong as they need to be," Obama said. "Meanwhile, the Taliban has made gains, particularly in rural areas and can still launch deadly attacks in cities."
Under the new plan, 9,800 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan for most of 2016. Those troops will be spread throughout the country conducting counterterrorism and training missions at Kabul, Bagram, Jalalabad and Kandahar.
At some point late in 2016, the number of troops will fall to 5,500 and remain there going into 2017. Officials could not provide a specific date when the drawdown would occur.
NATO partners are also expected to extend their troops' commitment to remain in Afghanistan over that time period, though specific numbers are not yet available, said Laurel Miller, U.S. deputy special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.Read more on WashingtonExaminer.com