President Obama to keep 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through 2017

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President Barack Obama

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Obama announced a change in plans Wednesday that will keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan longer than originally planned.

The administration wanted to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan from 9,800 to 5,500 by the end of the year. However, the precipitous security situation in the country prompted him to change his mind.

As a result, 8,400 troops will stay in the country into 2017.

“The security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious,” Obama said during a statement at the White House Wednesday. “Even as they improve, Afghan security forces are still not as strong as they need to be.”

The president said he strongly believed it was in “our national security interest” to give “our Afghan partners the best opportunities to succeed.”

Afghanistan has seen a surge in violence. Last week, 34 people died in Kabul when two suicide bombers attacked a bus convoy of new police officers. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

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