U.S. President Barack Obama will announce Tuesday plans to leave 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the formal troop drawdown at the end of this year, a senior administration official said.
The number, which emerged after Obama held talks with U.S. military commanders at Bagram air base in Afghanistan on Sunday, is largely in line with what military commanders have been seeking and would allow the president to fully end the U.S.-led military effort by the time he leaves office.
Obama is to announce the plan Tuesday afternoon at the White House Rose Garden.
The two-year plan is contingent on the next Afghan president signing a bilateral security agreement that Obama wants before the U.S. will agree to leave behind troops to help train Afghan forces and conduct counter-terrorism operations.
Under the scenario envisioned by Obama, the plan calls for the U.S. military to draw down from its current force of 32,000 to 9,800 by the start of next year.
Over the next year, the number of troops would be cut in half and consolidated in the capital of Kabul and at Bagram, the main U.S. base in Afghanistan, the AP reported. Those remaining forces would largely be withdrawn by the end of 2016, with fewer than 1,000 remaining behind to staff a security office in Kabul.
Ahead of his remarks, Obama was expected to speak with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, who has had a tumultuous relationship with the White House, the AP reported. The two leaders did not see each other while Obama was in Afghanistan, but they did speak by phone as Air Force One was returning to Washington.