- The Washington Times - Friday, February 22, 2013

The Pentagon is denying news reports that the U.S. will leave between 8,000 to 12,000 troops in Afghanistan after all international combat forces withdraw from the country by the end of 2014.

“The reports that the U.S. told allies that we are considering 8-12,000 U.S. troops after 2014 are not correct,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said Friday in a written statement.

Mr. Little said that range of troops was discussed as the “possible size of the overall NATO mission, not the U.S. contribution.”

“The President is still reviewing options and has not made a decision about the size of a possible U.S. presence after 2014, and we will continue to discuss with Allies and the Afghans how we can best carry out two basic missions: targeting the remnants of [Al Qaeda] and its affiliates, and training and equipping Afghan forces,” the press secretary’s statement said.


News outlets reported earlier Friday that German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere had told reporters that Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta had informed him of those figures during a NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels.