Citing “precarious” security situation and an increasing threat from the Taliban, President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced that the US will station 8,400 troops in Afghanistan when he completes his term, reversing his previous plan to leave behind just 5,500 soldiers in the war-torn country.
The readjustment to original plan came as the US struggles to maintain stability in Afghanistan while fulfilling promises to end the war by the end of Obama presidency in January 2017. “The security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious,” Obama said.
“I strongly believe it is in our national security interest… that we give our Afghan partners the best opportunities to succeed,” he added. Without naming Pakistan, Obama called on countries in the region to end all terrorist safe havens in the region. “The decision I’m making today ensures that my successor has a solid foundation for progress in Afghanistan, as well as the flexibility to address the threat of terrorism as it evolves,” Obama said.
“I firmly believe the decision I’m announcing is the right thing to do.” he said. Obama’s announcement in this regard came on the eve of his departure to Europe to attend a crucial NATO summit, wherein Afghanistan and the threat from Islamic State would be major topics of discussion.
The current level of troops in Afghanistan is 9,800.