“We are not going to get involved in any discussion of numbers,” Ghani stated on Monday when asked how many troops he would like to remain in the country beyond the end of 2016. “That decision will solely be made by President Barack Obama.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, and Chief Executive of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah were present at the press conference.
Carter said the US Department of Defense will seek funding to support 352,000 Afghan security forces until 2017 in order to ensure the security gains are not lost.
Maintaining Afghan security forces at the 350,000 level has cost about $4 billion per year.
The US military maintains some 10,000 troops in Afghanistan dedicated to training Afghan security forces, as well as engaging in limited counterterrorism operations in a new mission called Resolute Support.