WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee says the United States should keep a residual force of 13,600 in Afghanistan after combat troops leave at the end of 2014.
Republican Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon made the comments Wednesday in an interview with reporters, a day after he returned from his third trip to Afghanistan. McKeon said military leaders in Kabul and U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham also favor a residual force of that size with coalition partners contributing some 6,500 troops.
Last week, Gen. James Mattis, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, said he preferred a force of that size. The number, however, is far more than what U.S. and NATO leaders discussed at a meeting last month.
President Barack Obama is expected to make a decision soon.