January 8, 2013 / 8:21 PM / in 5 years

U.S. does not rule out leaving no troops in Afghanistan after 2014

WASHINGTON, Jan 8 (Reuters) - The Obama administration does not rule out the possibility that no U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014, the White House said on Monday, just days before President Barack Obama is due to meet Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

“That would be an option that we would consider,” U.S. deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters in a preview of Karzai’s Friday visit when asked whether the administration was weighing a “zero option” in its deliberations on how large a residual force to leave behind after the end of the U.S. combat mission next year.

U.S. officials have said privately the White House had asked for options to be developed for keeping between 3,000 and 9,000 troops in the country. But Rhodes said on Monday it would be months before a final decision is made.

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