Pres. Obama delays return of U.S. troops from Afghanistan until end of 2016

Posted at 9:23 AM, Oct 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-15 11:26:38-04

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama announced Thursday that U.S. forces will remain in Afghanistan at their current levels of 9,800 troops throughout much of 2016, marking yet another delay in the administration’s plans for completing its withdrawal from the 14-year conflict.

“I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as a safe haven” for terrorist groups, he said, noting that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had asked for a postponement in U.S. troop withdrawals.

But he acknowledged that “Afghan forces are still not as strong as they need to be” and that “the Taliban has made gains.”

According to the new White House plan, the number of U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan would drop to 5,500 by early 2017, as Obama prepares to leave office.