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By next year, the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan could fall below 10,000, the minimum amount military leaders say should be there to train Afghan forces, Reuters reports.
There are close to 33,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan now, a significant reduction from the 100,000 troops stationed there in 2011. White House officials who have been briefed on the matter told Reuters that the number of troops left in country could wind up being less than 5,000 because Afghan security forces seem "robust enough" to contain a Taliban-led insurgency. The U.S. troops remaining would then focus on counter-terrorism and training operations.
Officials say the optimism stems from the relatively smooth election that took place on April 5, when an estimated 60 percent of eligible voters turned out despite threats by the Taliban.