04:57 GMT20 January 2021
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    The troop withdrawal plan might be reviewed at the request of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who claims that the Afghan military lacks the air power and necessary skills to combat the militant groups in the country.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The United States might slow down its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan due to the remaining threat of militant groups in the region, a high-ranking administration official said Wednesday.

    "The defining elements of the plan are more or less intact. All we're looking at this point is either variations within those or subtle variations of the current framework," the official speaking on the condition of anonymity said, The Washington Post reported.

    The troop withdrawal plan might be reviewed at the request of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who claims that the Afghan military lacks the air power and necessary skills to combat the militant groups in the country. US military officials also believe that a greater amount of troops in Afghanistan reduces the risk for the US military there, The Washington Post reported.

    If the new strategy is adopted, the US command will have more than the earlier-planned 5,500 soldiers in the country at the end of 2015. Regional training hubs will be open longer than previously planned, and several military bases, including Kandahar Airfield, will be kept open.

    However, the date of the full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is not under question and is still planned for early 2017, according to The Washington Post.

    US President Barack Obama will consider the plan and make the final decision before Ghani's visit to Washington in March.

    A withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan was first announced in May 2014. In December 2014, the drawdown schedule was adjusted for the first time. US military officials decided to keep 10,800 soldiers in Afghanistan by early 2015, while the previous target was to retain less than 10,000 soldiers by the end of NATO's 14-year combat mission on December 31, 2014.

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    Tags:
    militants, US troop withdrawal, Kandahar Airfield, Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan, US
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