President Obama To Keep Nearly 10,000 Troops in Afghanistan
President Obama will keep nearly ten-thousand U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the end of this year. In a statement at the White House this afternoon, Obama noted that the U.S. will end combat operations in Afghanistan by year's end. Remaining troops will continue training Afghan security forces and advising on counterterrorism efforts. Most of the remaining troops will be pulled out by the end of 2016. The President said it is time to bring the nation's longest war to a "responsible end."
The President traveled to Afghanistan over the weekend to visit U.S. troops. More than 30-thousand American troops remain in Afghanistan after more than a decade of war. Obama's plan depends on Afghanistan signing a bilateral security agreement with the U.S. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has so far refused to sign a security forces agreement that would keep American troops in his country. Afghanistan will elect a new president next month.
President Obama said returning vets must get the care and benefits they have earned and deserve. That was a reference to the controversy swirling around the Veterans Affairs Department. The VA is under the microscope after long wait times may have contributed to the deaths of up to 40 vets in Phoenix. All VA health clinics are now undergoing a comprehensive review. Embattled VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has resisted growing calls to resign. (Metro Networks Inc.)