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US presence in Afghanistan to remain significant: envoy

US ambassador James Dobbins, special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, answers questions from reporters during a press briefing at the US Embassy in Tokyo on May 13, 2014The US-led military presence in Afghanistan will remain “significant” despite this year’s drawdown, Washington’s special envoy for the country said Tuesday, as he predicted that outgoing president Hamid Karzai would continue to wield influence. James Dobbins, the US special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, told reporters in Tokyo that Washington was “still considering” the details of the withdrawal plan. “I hope we will decide sometime in the next month or two on the exact size of (the remaining) contingent,” Dobbins told journalists in the Japanese capital, where he is attending talks on supporting Afghanistan. About 51,000 US-led NATO troops still deployed in Afghanistan are set to withdraw by December, ending a long and costly battle against the Taliban, who launched a fierce insurgency after being ousted from power in 2001.

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