US President Barack Obama delivers a statement on Afghanistan with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter (L) and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 6, 2016. AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM
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President Barack Obama said Wednesday the U.S. will leave 8,400 troops in Afghanistan when he completes his term, down slightly from the current number but well up from the 5,500 he announced previously, arguing America's interests depend on helping Afghanistan's struggling government fight continuing threats from the Taliban and others.Obama had planned to drop troop levels from the current 9,800 to 5,500 by the end of 2016 .Last month a group of more than a dozen former U.S. ambassadors and former commanders of U.S. forces in Afghanistan wrote to Obama urging that he sustain the current level of U.S. troops through the remainder of his term in office. They included Gen. John F. Campbell, who had been the top U.S. commander in Kabul until four months ago, and retired Gen. David Petraeus.
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