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Mullen: No Big Change in Number of Troops in Afghanistan


The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Admiral Mike Mullen (file photo)

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Admiral Mike Mullen (file photo)

The top U.S. military officer says he does not foresee large changes in the number of troops currently stationed in Afghanistan.

The Associated Press quoted Admiral Mike Mullen as saying there will not be any significant increases or decreases beyond the current level of roughly 100,000.

Mullen spoke Monday in Iraq, where he met with U.S. troops and Iraqi officials.

U.S. President Barack Obama is set to release an assessment of his Afghan strategy announced last year, leading to an increase in the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The move was aimed at reversing the growing Taliban insurgency in the country.

Mr. Obama plans to begin withdrawing U.S. forces in July. But NATO spokesman Brigadier General Boltz again dismissed reports that the alliance intends to abandon Afghanistan. He said that although the goal is to turn over security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014, that will depend on conditions on the ground.

In other news Monday, Afghan and coalition forces arrested several suspects in connection with a deadly attack in southern Kandahar province Sunday that killed six American soldiers and two Afghan soldiers.

Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the bombing that also wounded several U.S. soldiers.

Also Monday, NATO said its forces targeted a senior Taliban leader in central Ghor province in a precision airstrike. A NATO statement said troops tracked the man for several hours before attacking him while traveling on his motorcycle with another insurgent.

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