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US Considers Options for Troops in Afghanistan

It is reported that U.S. military leaders have proposed two options for Afghanistan after 2014 - leave 10,000 American troops there when the combat mission is over, or pull all of them out.

Several news organizations, including The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, report that General Joseph Dunford, the commander of the NATO-led force in Afghanistan, presented the option to the White House last week.

Haji Saleh Muhammed Saleh sits on the defense committee in Afghanistan's Lower House. He tells VOA Afghan Service's Ashna TV that if a complete pullout is seriously considered, then the U.S. should help strengthen Afghan security forces.

"It (the plan) should include extensive civilian aid programs and to back the Afghan government. The amount of assistance should be increased so that Afghanistan can stand on its feet."

Some reports also say that if 10,000 troops are left after 2014, they should all be withdrawn by early 2017, when President Barack Obama leaves office.

The Afghan government has not yet signed a Bilateral Security Agreement that would determine the number of American troops to stay in Afghanistan by the end of this year.

The Obama administration says if the agreement is not signed soon, the U.S. may have to pull out its troops because there won't be time to plan for a continued presence.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says the winner of that country's presidential election in April should sign the agreement.