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U.S. Military Says No Change In Afghan Withdrawal Timeline

The U.S. military says the timeline for further decreases in troop numbers in Afghanistan has not changed after President Ashraf Ghani suggested the plans should be "reexamined."

A Pentagon spokesman, U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren, said on January 5 that the U.S. "plan remains in effect and there have been no changes to the drawdown timeline."

The United States is keeping about 10,800 troops in Afghanistan -- the bulk of a foreign contingent of about 13,000 -- following the end of the NATO combat mission late last month.

Warren said the United States has not changed its plans to cut U.S. troops to about 5,000 by the end of this year and draw down to a "normal" U.S. embassy presence in Kabul at the end of 2016.

Amid frequent attacks by Taliban militants, Ghani said on January 4 that "there should be a willingness to reexamine a deadline" if all sides have "done their best to achieve objectives."

Analysts said President Barack Obama may eventually review the timeline and that Ghani's statements would help explain that decision if he does so.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP