President Obama is now abandoning his plans to decrease the amount of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Originally, he planned to cut the forces to just 5,500. Though, military leaders have convinced him other wise to keep the numbers strong through 2016. Although no final decisions have been made, White House officials believe Obama will allow a slow withdrawal of troops, allowing a majority of the 9,800 Americans to remain in Afghanistan.
There are also talks of keeping a small, steady number of counterterrorism forces in the area throughout the year. Moreover, some troop would stay longer, into 2016.
As of now, around 2,000 U.S. troops are engaging in counterterrorism missions, and military officials have stated it is a necessity to continue pursing what is left of al-Queda and ISIS. Obama is clearly against launching a full offensive in the area, though he is open to keep the remaining forces in Afghanistan throughout the remainder of his term.
Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has expressed his concerns regarding the withdrawal of troops. He said Obama’s want to drawdown American military influence in the area may create a vacuum into which ISIS may go. He said Obama needs to understand that American troops are needed to bring balance to the area and ward off advancing terrorists that wish to take control of the country.
By Alex Lemieux
Photo by The U.S. Army – Flickr License