Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Officials quietly announced Saturday that the White House is dropping its plans to reduce troops in Afghanistan to 5,500 by year's end. (Photo: US Army/flickr/cc)

US Quietly Abandons Troop Reduction Plans in Afghanistan

Administration could allow up to 9,800 troops to remain into next year's 'fighting season'

Nadia Prupis

The Obama administration is dropping its plans to reduce the amount of U.S. forces in Afghanistan to 5,500 by the end of the year, significantly altering the timeline which officials had said would see troops largely withdraw from the country by 2016, according to reports.

In fact, officials say, the administration could allow up to 9,800 American troops to remain in Afghanistan well into next year's "fighting season."

The announcement on Saturday came a few weeks after new Defense Secretary Ashton Carter indicated that the White House was "rethinking" its counter-terrorism mission in Afghanistan and would slow down its troop withdrawal from the country, despite long-held promises from Washington to remove the U.S. military presence there.

While no final decisions on numbers of troops have been made yet, Associated Press reports that officials are also discussing "options under which some [troops] would remain in the country or be nearby beyond 2016."

President Barack Obama will likely use an upcoming visit by U.S.-backed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to make an official announcement about the development later this month.

The U.S. and Afghanistan in September signed a controversial Bilateral Security Agreement, which went into effect in January and will last until 2024. As Common Dreams previously reported, the BSA "stipulates long-term U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and access to numerous bases and installations in the country, including facilities located in Bagram, home to the notorious U.S. military prison," without specifying the number of troops to remain in the country.

In February, the United Nations published a report that revealed "credible and reliable" evidence of the U.S. military torturing detainees in Afghanistan.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

New Filing Reveals Sinema Pads Campaign Coffers With More Pharma and Finance Funds

"This is what someone who's bought and paid for looks like."

Brett Wilkins ·


'We're Not Stopping': Weeklong D.C. Climate Protests End With 650+ Arrests, Vows to Fight On

"There is no other planet to escape to. Water is life... They need to listen to the youth. They need to hear us speak our cries."

Brett Wilkins ·



Ousted by AOC, Joe Crowley Now Lobbying Against Tax Hikes on Corporate Giants

The former chair of the House Democratic Caucus once called the GOP's 2017 tax law a "scam," but now he's collaborating with Wall Street to undermine attempts at progressive reform.

Kenny Stancil ·


'Corporate Fraud at Its Worst': J&J Hides Behind Bankruptcy Amid Baby Powder Lawsuits

"Here we go again," said Elizabeth Warren. "Another giant corporation is abusing our bankruptcy system."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo