WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's decision to slow the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan will be welcomed at the NATO summit this weekend. It will provide aid for allied forces and bolster U.S. efforts to get more pledges of support for the war from U.S. allies.
Obama's move quells lingering questions within NATO about America's commitment. And it will allow the U.S. military to expand its work with Afghan forces as they face a resurgent Taliban and a troubling presence of Islamic State fighters in the country.
Obama will leave 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan into 2017, rather than cut the force to 5,500 at the end of the year as initially planned.
Military commanders, lawmakers and allied leaders had pressured the administration to maintain the current 9,800 troops in Afghanistan.