On September 30, American and Afghan officials signed a pact to leave US troops in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 deadline.
Nine thousand eight hundred US troops will now remain past 2014, and “the US has the right to keep bases in Afghanistan as long as the pact is in force.” Another 3,200 NATO troops will remain in country with the US forces as well.
According to Reuters, extending US troop presence in Afghanistan was a “campaign promise by new President Ashraf Ghani.” After the pact was signed, Ghani said: “As an independent country… we signed this agreement for stability, goodwill, and [the] prosperity… of our people, [and the] stability of the region and the world.”
USA Today reports that there are currently “about 24,000 US troops” in Afghanistan. That number will be reduced to 9,800 in mid-2015 and then all troops will be withdrawn by 2017.
Yahoo News reported on how President Obama “hammered” Mitt Romney over the issue of troops in Afghanistan during the 2012 presidential election. Romney disagreed with Obama’s 2014 pullout date, suggesting troops should stay until the job was done.
Obama responded to Romney’s position by saying:
We are bringing our troops home from Afghanistan. And I’ve set a timetable. We will have them all out of there by 2014. Gov. Romney doesn’t have a timetable. I think he’s wrong. That’s what at stake in this election.
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