President Obama Wants to Keep Close to 10,000 Troops in Afghanistan

President Barack Obama will announce Tuesday that he wants to keep 9,800 military personnel in Afghanistan after the American combat mission ends there this year, a senior administration official told NBC News.

That figure would be cut in half by the end of 2015, and the American contingent would be reduced to “a normal Embassy presence” by the end of 2016, as Obama is close to leaving office, the administration official said.

The plan assumes that Afghan leaders will sign a security agreement with the United States. Both Afghan presidential candidates have committed to signing it if they are elected, the official noted.

The presidential runoff is next month. Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai frustrated American decision-making by refusing to sign a security agreement.

Obama plans to make a formal announcement about the Afghan troop presence later in the day, the official said.

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