(WASHINGTON) -- A top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has told The Washington Times that American forces will be needed there following the major withdrawal of most coalition troops set for sometime in 2014. U.S. soldiers would retain their current roles as trainers and advisers to the Afghan army and police, who have taken over security responsibilities in the war.
Air Force Maj. Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach said, "Our plan right now is to have those forces in country, for sure, and we’ll be able to support the coalition forces with close air support."
Wilsbach, deputy commander for U.S. and coalition air operations in Afghanistan, did not discuss numbers nor could he say if there would be enough air support to back both U.S. troops remaining in the country and Afghan national forces.
The Obama administration is still weighing the size of the force to be left behind in Afghanistan after 2014 as Washington and Kabul hammer out details of a post-war agreement.
Retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis, formerly NATO’s supreme commander, said in Foreign Policy magazine last month that he would recommend 9,000 U.S. and 6,000 allied troops to mentor Afghanistan’s 350,000-man security force.
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