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U.S. confirms plans to delay Afghan withdrawal

Hagel, officially confirming a change in the U.S. drawdown schedule first reported by Reuters, said U.S. forces in Afghanistan could fall only to 10,800 troops at the start of next year, rather than 9,800 as originally planned.

“But the president’s authorization will not change our troops’ missions, or the long-term timeline for our drawdown,” Hagel said.

The United States plans to scale back to 5,500 troops in 2016 and reduce to an embassy presence in 2017.



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