Information provided by Office of the Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs
Today, President Obama announced his decision to maintain approximately 8,400 U.S. service members in Afghanistan in 2017. This is a revision of the previous post-2016 force posture that had planned for a drawdown of U.S. troop presence to 5,500 by the end of 2016.
Following the announcement, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter released the following statement:
"The United States has maintained a steadfast commitment to our Afghan partners, and President Obama's decision today is firmly in keeping with that enduring commitment. The troop level adjustment he announced today, which I recommended after consulting with Gen. Nicholson, Gen. Votel and Chairman Dunford, will enhance our ability to continue progress on our two central missions in Afghanistan: strengthening Afghan forces so they can secure their nation and prevent its use as a safe haven for terrorists. In consultation with President Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah and the Afghan government, we and our NATO partners remain determined to help the people of Afghanistan secure a more peaceful future."
As additional reference, this new force posture will ensure that U.S. Armed Forces can best continue to execute their two narrow post-2014 missions in Afghanistan through the end of this Administration and into the next.
The first is a non-combat mission of training, advising, and assisting the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). The ANDSF have demonstrated their resilience and tenacity, but there is yet more for the United States and our Allies and partners to do to continue their development.
The second is a counterterrorism mission to target the remnants of al-Qa'ida, ISIL-K, and other terrorist groups in the region, and prevent an al-Qa'ida resurgence or external plotting against U.S. targets or the homeland.