Obama: We Will Maintain Afghanistan Troop Levels

America's longest war just got a little longer for thousands of U.S. troops. President Barack Obama's decision Tuesday to keep 9,800 soldiers in Afghanistan through this year -- double what was previously planned -- represents an American bet that a new president, Ashraf Ghani, might finally be the reliable partner in Kabul who can solidify gains, such as they are, of the 14-year U.S. mission. But though Obama has long pined for a dependable counterpart in Afghanistan and hoped for greater stability there, Ghani's arrival comes with a significant political price. In order to bolster Ghani, who emerged as the winner after a U.S.-brokered settlement to a disputed Afghan election last year, Obama has had little choice but to accept his appeals for more U.S. troops to stay longer in Afghanistan. So far, Obama and Ghani have been making a show of camaraderie. He is also expressing deep gratitude for the sacrifices made by the United States to keep the Taliban at bay in Afghanistan,



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