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Hagel: 10,800 Troops To Stay In Afghanistan After Dec. 31

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is greeted by Gen. John F. Campbell (right) after arriving in Kabul on Saturday. Hagel announced that an additional 1,000 U.S. troops would remain behind in the country after Dec. 31.

An additional 1,000 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan for the first several months of 2015, leaving 10,800 in the country at the start of the year, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told reporters at a briefing in Kabul today.

According to a revised drawdown schedule, the U.S. contingent was to have numbered 9,800, but Hagel said "the president's authorization will not change our troops' missions, or the long-term timeline for our drawdown."

But Hagel said the decision to leave behind more troops was not related to a recent upsurge in Taliban attacks in the Afghan capital. Instead, he said, the additional forces will remain because commitments from U.S. allies in Afghanistan had been slow to materialize in support of a NATO train-and-assist mission.

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