US may send additional troops to Afghanistan next year

US Marines arrange their equipment as US troops arrive in Kandahar after their withdrawl from the Camp Bastion-Leatherneck complex in Helmand province on October 26, 2014The US military likely will keep a slightly larger force in Afghanistan in 2015 than first planned and American troops will have authority to aid Afghan forces in combat if necessary, defense officials said Tuesday. The United States may have to deploy hundreds of additional forces in coming months, beyond the 9,800-strong contingent announced previously, because of a shortfall in troop contributions from NATO members, officials told AFP. Commanders were still working out the details but there was a shortage of roughly 400 to 700 NATO troops that would need to be filled temporarily by US forces through the winter months of 2015, said a defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The shortfall was a result of the delayed signing of a bilateral security agreement this year between Washington and Kabul, which also complicated deals with other NATO countries to deploy troops to Afghanistan starting next year.

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