The United States will keep 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014 and withdraw most of them by the end of 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
President Barack Obama announced the decision after a whirlwind visit to US troops in Afghanistan over the weekend.
Top US military advisers and commanders in Afghanistan had recommended keeping 10,000 troops but administration officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, urged him to leave a much smaller number, the report said.
The troops will be divided into two missions, one to train Afghan soldiers, the other to work in counterterrorism operations.
US commanders had warned that having fewer than 10,000 troops left would make it difficult for the US to secure bases in key areas of the country where American and western trainers, diplomats and spies are expected to work.
The new plan hinges on the next Afghan president signing a bilateral security agreement with the US, but Washington officials said they are confident such a deal will be achieved as the two candidates competing for the presidency have said they will be on board.
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