New US defence chief: withdrawal from Afghanistan under review

Washington is reviewing a plan to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by 2016 to ensure that “progress sticks” after more than a decade of war, new US Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters in Kabul on Saturday. Under the current plan, the United States will halve the number of troops in Afghanistan to 5,000 this year, gradually winding down to a “normal” US embassy presence by 2016.

That schedule could now change, said Carter on his first trip abroad since swearing in as the Pentagon chief on Tuesday, as the United States rethinks the future of its counter-terrorism mission in Afghanistan.

His remarks set the stage for talks next month when the Afghan president is expected in Washington.



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