US Nears Decision on Post-2014 Afghan Presence

Gen. John Allen's recommendations under review as scandal grabs him
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2012 7:34 AM CST
US Nears Decision on Post-2014 Afghan Presence
In this Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012 file photo, US soldiers are seen west of Kabul, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Hoshang Hashimi, File)

In the coming weeks, the US will make a decision on the number of troops to remain in Afghanistan after the planned drawdown in 2014, Reuters reports. "My hope is that we'll be able to complete this process in the next few weeks," says Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. "I'm confident that we'll be able to get to the right number that we're going to need for the post-2014 enduring presence." Any remaining troops will be involved in counterterror missions and Afghan troop training.

NATO's top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen—who's currently embroiled in unfolding fallout from the David Petraeus scandal—has provided the Obama administration with recommendations for those figures, Panetta says. Panetta was reviewing those recommendations only hours before learning that Allen had exchanged between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of communications with Jill Kelley over the course of two years, Reuters notes. (More Leon Panetta stories.)

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