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US troops may stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014, says US general

December 21, 2011 - Washington

American troops could remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014, despite President Barack Obama's pledge to withdraw them by then, a senior US commander has claimed.

In an interview to The New York Times, General John R. Allen, said negotiations with the Hamid Karzai's government for a strategic partnership agreement would "almost certainly" include "a discussion on what a post-2014 force will look like."

"Karzai had, in fact, just the other day talked about his desire to have conversations with the U.S. about a post-2014 force," the paper quoted General Allen, as saying.

"We would probably see some number of advisers, trainers, intelligence specialists here for some period of time beyond 2014," he added.

General Allen emphasized what he called the need for a long-term military and civilian commitment in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

Some American officials, including members of the Obama administration, have said 2014 is not a hard deadline for military withdrawal.

United States Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan C. Crocker said this month that Washington is open to keeping the armed forces here if the Afghanistan government asks for them.


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