No Decision on Troop Levels in Afghanistan: Pentagon

Lalit K Jha/Washington
No Decision on Troop Levels in Afghanistan: Pentagon
The Pentagon today said it was premature to speculate on the US troop numbers in Afghanistan following the scheduled drawdown of 2014, saying no decision had been taken on the issue yet as reported by the media.

The Pentagon said no decision has been taken on the presence of US troops inside Afghanistan either before 2014 or post 2014, when all US troops are scheduled to withdraw from the country.

"It is entirely premature to speculate on the troop numbers in Afghanistan between now and the end of 2014 or beyond," Pentagon Press Secretary, George Little, told reporters during an off-camera news conference.

Little categorically denied news reports appearing in the American media that the United States has taken a decision to have 10,000 troops stationed in the Afghanistan post 2014.

Any such decision, he said, would be taken by the US President, in consultations with his national security team, the Afghan Government and its international partners, he said.

In September, the US completed the withdrawal of surge-level troops from the country, Little said, adding that the US would soon begin considering further withdrawal of troops from the country which would include planning the presence of US civilian and military presence in Afghanistan.

US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta is scheduled to hold a teleconference with the head of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen, tomorrow during which these issues would be discussed.

"The (US) President would make these decisions in the near future based on what is in our national interest," he said, adding that the decision would be taken in consultations with the Afghan Government and its international partners.
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