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Obama wants 9,800 troops in Afghanistan after 2014

WASHINGTON — President Obama will announce a plan to keep contingency force of 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014, according to senior administration and Pentagon officials.

Obama will make the announcement Tuesday afternoon in a statement, according to three senior administration officials. The officials asked not to be identified, so as not to preempt the president’s announcement.

“He will make clear that we are open to continued efforts in Afghanistan on two narrow missions after 2014: training Afghan forces and supporting CT operations against the remnants of al-Qaeda,” one official said. “We will only sustain a military presence after 2014 if the Afghan government signs the Bilateral Security Agreement.”

A senior Pentagon official confirmed the two-pronged mission: training and counter-terrorism.

According to Obama’s plan, U.S. troop levels would would be reduced by about half, consolidating U.S. troops in Kabul and on Bagram Airfield, by 2015.

STORY: White House scaling back military support for Afghan forces

By the end of 2016, the U.S. “will draw down to a normal Embassy presence with a security assistance office in Kabul, as we have done in Iraq,” the official said.

Obama is scheduled to announce his plan in the White House Rose Garden at 2:45 p.m.

The former commander of all forces in Afghanistan, Marine Gen. John Allen, had recommended more than 13,000 U.S. troops remain there after this year. And ormer Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urged between 8,000 and 12,000.

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