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U.S. plans full Afghan withdrawal by end of 2016: official

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The United States plans to reduce its troop presence in Afghanistan to 9,800 this year and to bring its military intervention to an end by the end of 2016, a senior official said Tuesday.

President Barack Obama was to announce the plan, which depends on the Afghan government agreeing to sign a joint security agreement with its US ally, later in the day.

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“We will only sustain a military presence after 2014 if the Afghan government signs the Bilateral Security Agreement,” the senior administration official told reporters.

“Assuming a BSA is signed, at the beginning of 2015, we will have 9,800 US service members in different parts of the country, together with our NATO allies and other partners,” the official continued.

“By the end of 2015, we would reduce that presence by roughly half, consolidating US troops in Kabul and on Bagram Airfield.

“And one year later, by the end of 2016, we will draw down to a normal embassy presence with a security assistance office in Kabul, as we have done in Iraq.”

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Obama visited US forces in Afghanistan on Sunday, and spoke briefly by telephone with outgoing Afghan leader Hamid Karzai, who is due to step down this year after a June election.

Both candidates in that run-off vote, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, have said they would sign the security agreement proposed by Washington if elected president.

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Around 51,000 US-led NATO troops are currently deployed in Afghanistan supporting Kabul in its fight against Taliban rebels, who launched a fierce insurgency after being ousted from power in 2001.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Dick Cheney raising money for Trump’s re-election — with White House staffers Ivanka and Jared: report

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Former Vice President Dick Cheney is raising money for President Donald Trump's re-election at a fundraiser in a ritzy western resort town.

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Heather Heyer’s mom says things have gotten worse since Charlottesville — but she has a solution

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CNN's Ana Cabrera on Saturday interviewed Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer. Her daughter was murdered by a white nationalist terrorist during the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.

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