The number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan may be greatly reduced after 2014, according to both military and Pentagon officials.
CNN reports that the main option that is being examined would require a total NATO force in range of 8,000 to 12,000 troops, and 3,000 to 4,000 of those troops would come from NATO countries. The U.S. would then make up the remaining number. It is possible that the final numbers could be altered. But a senior Defense Department official told CNN that the number would most likely remain around 8,000 -- the lowest number needed for the troops to be able to participate in actual missions.
Within 30 days, the Obama administration is expected to make a call on the troop levels. Previous NATO plans recommended a force of up to 10,000. The unidentified official speaking to CNN chose not to be revealed since no final decisions have been made. But the official was described as having “direct knowledge of the latest thinking.”
After 2014, the U.S. mission will focus on training Afghan forces and counterterrorism to fight militant groups and al Qaeda.