MILITARY

Pentagon nominee says he would consider changing Afghanistan withdrawal plan if needed

  • FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2014 file photo, Ashton Carter, President Barack Obama's choice to head the Defense Department, listens as the president Barack Obama announces Carter as his nominee for defense secretary Friday, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. Carter says he would consider changing the current plans for withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year if security conditions worsen. Carter also says he is aware of reports that Islamic State militants may try to expand into Afghanistan, and says he will work with coalition partners to ensure that doesn't happen. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2014 file photo, Ashton Carter, President Barack Obama's choice to head the Defense Department, listens as the president Barack Obama announces Carter as his nominee for defense secretary Friday, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. Carter says he would consider changing the current plans for withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year if security conditions worsen. Carter also says he is aware of reports that Islamic State militants may try to expand into Afghanistan, and says he will work with coalition partners to ensure that doesn't happen. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Friday Dec. 5, 2014 file photo, Ashton Carter, President Barack Obama's choice to head the Defense Department, listens as the president announces Carter as his nominee for defense secretary Friday, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. Carter says he would consider changing the current plans for withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year if security conditions worsen. Carter also says he is aware of reports that Islamic State militants may try to expand into Afghanistan, and says he will work with coalition partners to ensure that doesn't happen. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

    FILE - In this Friday Dec. 5, 2014 file photo, Ashton Carter, President Barack Obama's choice to head the Defense Department, listens as the president announces Carter as his nominee for defense secretary Friday, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. Carter says he would consider changing the current plans for withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year if security conditions worsen. Carter also says he is aware of reports that Islamic State militants may try to expand into Afghanistan, and says he will work with coalition partners to ensure that doesn't happen. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)  (The Associated Press)

The man poised to be the next Pentagon chief says he would consider changing the current plans for withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year if security conditions worsen.

Ashton Carter also says he is aware of reports that Islamic State militants may try to expand into Afghanistan, and says he will work with coalition partners to ensure that doesn't happen.

Carter's comments are included in his answers to a Senate Armed Services Committee questionnaire that was obtained by The Associated Press. His remarks come as Afghan leaders express concerns about the U.S. troop withdrawal and worry that local forces may not be ready to secure the country on their own.

Senators will hold a hearing Wednesday to consider Carter's nomination.