File - President Barack Obama listening as Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a news conference in the East Room at the White House in Washington, Jan. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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President Barack Obama told his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai on Tuesday he is now planning a full US troop withdrawal, but did not rule out agreeing a post-2014 mission with the next Kabul government.Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel backed Obama's move, and confirmed for the first time the Pentagon was actively planning a full troop withdrawal.Hagel said that top Pentagon brass would simultaneously plan options for a full withdrawal and a prolonged mission in Afghanistan, which would likely to include at least several thousand US troops.Obama has not yet made a decision on how many troops would be left behind to train and equip Afghan forces after the withdrawal of US combat teams by the end of this year, should he decide on a follow up mission.
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