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Additional 1,000 US troops to stay in Afghanistan, says Hagel

US Marines arrive in Kandahar after their withdrawl from the Camp Bastion-Leatherneck complex in Helmand province on October 26, 2014An additional 1,000 US troops will remain in Afghanistan next year to meet a temporary shortfall in NATO forces, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Saturday during a visit to Kabul. President Barack Obama approved the move despite an earlier plan to limit the US force to a maximum of 9,800 troops in 2015. A protracted Afghan election delayed the signing of security deals with the United States and NATO countries, which set back plans for Western governments to contribute troops to the post-2014 mission, Hagel said. “President Obama has provided US military commanders the flexibility to manage any temporary force shortfalls that we might experience for a few months as we allow for coalition troops to arrive,” he told a press conference.

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