Obama to announce plans to seek to leave 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan

Soldiers take photos as U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with troops after delivering remarks at Bagram Air Base in KabulBy Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama will announce plans on Tuesday to seek to leave 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the formal troop drawdown at the end of this year, a senior administration official said. The number emerged after Obama held talks with U.S. military commanders at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan on Sunday as the United States winds down a war begun in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Obama was to make the announcement in a 2:45 p.m. EDT statement in the White House Rose Garden. U.S. officials are expressing increasing confidence that the next Afghan president will sign a bilateral security agreement that Obama wants before the United States will agree to leave behind troops to help train Afghan forces and conduct counter-terrorism operations.

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