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During his first visit to Afghanistan, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the U.S. is considering slowing its military exit from the embattled country by keeping a larger troop presence in the country than previously planned because the new Afghan government is proving to be a more reliable partner.
President Obama plans to discuss a range of options for U.S. military withdrawal when Afghan president Ashraf Ghani visits the White House in March, Carter said at a news conference with Ghani. The two presidents plan to “rethink” the counterterrorism right in Afghanistan, he said.
There are 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, down from 100,000 from 2011. Carter did not say Obama was considering keeping troops in the country beyond 2016, but was only considering the pace of troop withdrawal for the next two years.