U.S. President Barack Obama announced that he plans to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan after the end of the year to continue training Afghan forces and supporting operations against Al Qaeda.
The plan would shrink the U.S. troop presence from its current force of 32,000 to 9,800 by the start of next year, and to roughly half that size by the end of 2015. Nearly all those forces are to be out by the end of 2016, as Obama finishes his second term.
“It’s time to turn the page,” Obama said. If the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan indeed lasts through 2016, that would bring the length of the U.S. engagement in Afghanistan to 15 years. Afghanistan is already the longest U.S. war.
It comes just one day before the first of three foreign policy speeches Obama will give — on the future of U.S. foreign policy. CCTV’s White House Correspondent Jessica Stone reports.