Mattis unveils Afghan troop recommendation

WASHINGTON — The head of U.S. Central Command has recommended that 13,600 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan after the White House-mandated 2014 withdrawal date for American and NATO troops. This would be almost half of the force that will be in country after 34,000 troops are brought home this fall.

Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis for the first time put a number to the debate roiling the Pentagon and the White House over how many troops might remain behind in Afghanistan to continue the counterterrorism mission and to train and advise the Afghan armed forces. There are currently 68,000 American forces deployed in Afghanistan.

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How many U.S. troops should remain in the country after 2014?