Washington, President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced a slowing in the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Afghanistan as 8,400 U.S. troops will remain in the country through 2016.
There are 9,800 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan and the initial plan was to leave 5,500 there through the end of the year.
“Our forces are now focused on two narrow missions: training and advising Afghan forces and supporting counter-terrorist operations,” Obama said during an address from the White House. “Over the past year and a half, 38 Americans … have given their lives in Afghanistan for our security. We honor their sacrifice.”
Counter-terrorism missions will target al-Qaida, the Islamic State and other known groups deemed as terrorist organizations in the region.
“I’ve made it clear that I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again,” Obama said. “Even as we remain relentless against those who threaten us, we are no longer engaged in a major ground war in Afghanistan.