US military favors keeping troops in Afghanistan past 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) – In a potential major shift in policy, U.S. military leaders want to keep at least a few thousand U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016.

The commanders point to a fragile security situation highlighted by the Taliban’s capture of the northern city of Kunduz this week.

Keeping any substantial number of troops in Afghanistan beyond next year would mark a sharp departure from President Barack Obama’s existing plan, which would leave only an embassy-based security cooperation presence of about 1,000 military personnel by the end of next year.

Obama has made it a centerpiece of his second-term foreign policy message that he would end the U.S. war in Afghanistan and get American troops out before he left office.

About 9,800 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan now.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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