The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is sending his recommendations to senior leaders this week on how many American troops should remain in the country next year to work with Afghan forces battling a resurgent Taliban.

Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland tells Pentagon reporters that Gen. John Nicholson has finished his assessment of the ongoing security threat there and the needs of the Afghan military. That plan now goes to U.S. Central Command and the Pentagon.

The U.S. has about 9,800 troops in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama has said that number would drop to 5,500 by the end of 2016.

Officials have said Obama will listen to his commanders' advice. U.S. military leaders have pushed this year to keep the higher troop level as long as they can.