Time: 5:49 p.m. CEST
President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that United States’ military personnel would slowdown with the withdrawal from Afghanistan and that large part of the present 9,800 forces will remain to support Afghan military. “I am announcing an additional adjustment to our posture, instead of going down to 5.500 by the end of this year; the US would maintain approximately 8400 troops in Afghanistan into the next year, until the end of my administration,” Obama said on Wednesday.
Obama, who promised the end of war in Afghanistan promised the mission of the American forces on the ground will remain the same. “The narrow mission assigned to our forces would not change, they would remain focus supporting Afghan forces and going after terrorist, but maintaining our forces at this specific level, based on our assessment on the security conditions and the strength of the Afghan forces, will allow us to continue to provide tailored support to help Afghan forces continue to improve,” Obama explained.
As Obama stated, the decision he make today, “Ensures that my successor had a solid foundation for continued progress in Afghanistan, as well the flexibility to address the threat of terrorism as it evolves.”
On October 15, 2015, when Obama last time updated information on the U.S. troops in Afghanistan promised that, “by the end of 2016, 5,500 troops would only remain at the small number of bases, including Bagram, Jalalabad on the east and Kandahar in the south.” Last year, even Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani had appealed to Obama for keeping more troops in Afghanistan.
When Obama started his first mandate as the president, the U.S. had about 180.000 troops in Afghanistan and by the end of 2014 the number was less than 10.000. On May 25, 2014 during his visit to American troops in Afghanistan, President Obama stated the U.S. would endure with commitments to Afghanistan, even though the combat mission ends late this year.
“With our strategic partnership, we’ll continue to stand with Afghans as they strengthen their institutions, as they build their economy, as they improve their lives — men and women, and boys and girls, ” stated Obama at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.
During the Wednesday address from the White House, Obama explained that U.S. expects continuation of the peace process and reconciliation between the Afghan government and Taliban. On of the Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Akhtar Mansour, died in a U.S. drone strike this May.
After elections in Afghanistan in September 2014, the State Department expected Afghanistan to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement, and NATO SOFA Agreement. Afghanistan will be one of the issue for discussions on the upcoming NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland on July 8-9.