News - Afghanistan
The US is aiming to keep around 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan after formal combat operations end in 2014, a US official has claimed.
The unnamed senior American official told US newspaper The Wall Street Journal that the plan was in line with recommendations presented by the top US and Nato commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Allen who has proposed a force between 6,000 and 15,000 US troops.
The soldiers will conduct training and counterterrorism operations after the Nato-led mission in Afghanistan formally concludes at the end of 2014, the report said.
About 67,000 US troops are currently deployed in Afghanistan alongside 37,000 other foreign coalition troops and 337,000 Afghan soldiers and police that make up the Afghan National Security Forces.
The report comes after the US and Afghanistan on November 15 began crucial talks over a security deal for the post-2014 relationship which will establish the status of US forces remaining in Afghanistan.
The US has repeatedly stressed that it is not seeking permanent bases in Afghanistan.
In July, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul and announced that the US was designating Afghanistan a major non-Nato ally - a designation given to close non-Nato countries who have a strategic relationship with US forces.
It was the first time the Obama administration has given the designation, and the first the US has made since Pakistan was denoted in 2004.