February 22, 2013
NATO Deciding on Troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014
NATO officials are meeting in Brussels to discuss the future of the international combat mission in Afghanistan -- but there are conflicting reports on how many troops may remain there after 2014.
The alliance is scheduled to transfer control of security to Afghan forces in 2014.
German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the United States would leave between 8,000 and 12,000 troops in Afghanistan.
But Pentagon spokesman George Little said that range was discussed as the size of the overall post-2014 NATO mission -- not the U.S. contribution alone.
He said President Barack Obama is reviewing options, and has not yet made a decision about the size of the U.S. presence after 2014.
In his recent State of the Union speech, Mr. Obama announced that about half of the U.S. forces serving in Afghanistan -- roughly 34,000 -- will be home within a year. At its peak, the U.S. had about 100,000 troops in Afghanistan.