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Obama to keep 5,500 troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016: Officials

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Barack Obama is expected to announce on Thursday that 5,500 American troops will stay in Afghanistan beyond 2016.

The US president will keep 5,500 of US troops in Afghanistan when he leaves office in 2017, according to senior unnamed Obama administration officials.

US President Barack Obama had originally planned to withdraw almost all US troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year. He just wanted to keep a small, embassy-based military presence in the Asian country.

But the Pentagon has been arguing for months that Kabul needed additional US military presence in order to defeat a resurgent Taliban movement.

The United States should deploy more troops to Afghanistan because local forces are not yet ready to take on Taliban militants, US Army General John Campbell has said.

Campbell, the commander in charge of the US-led military coalition in Afghanistan, made the remarks during a hearing before a US Senate panel last week.

President Obama is expected to announce the changes on Thursday morning during a news conference at the White House.

The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but after 14 years, the foreign troops have still not been able to establish security in the country.

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