Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that 9,800 American troops will remain in Afghanistan and 22,000 soldiers there will return home by the end of the year.
The remaining force will be reduced by half by the end of 2015 and by the end of 2016, only a few will be detailed at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Obama said in a statement.
The remaining force in Afghanistan will train Afghan security forces and support operations against insurgents.
However, U.S. troop presence in the insurgency-wracked country will still depend on the signing of a bilateral security agreement (BSA) between the two countries.
The U.S. sent troops to Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in 2001 to find Al Qaeda members suspected to be behind the terrorism. From an initial 1,200 troops, the number increased rising to nearly 20,000 from 2003 to 2006 during the Bush administration. The number peaked to 100,000 in 2010 under Obama’s term.
Some 2,184 American service members were killed and 19,600 have been wounded in the war against Taliban the past 13 years. The cost of the war to American taxpayers totalled $537.8 billion.