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Obama To Announce Slowdown In U.S. Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan

U.S. Army soldiers from 2-506 Infantry 101st Airborne Division race to get out of the way of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter landing in Afghanistan. (file photo).

Senior U.S. officials say President Barack Obama is set to announce that he will slow plans to draw down U.S. forces from Afghanistan, with 5,500 troops to stay after 2016.

Obama is due to announce the changes later on October 15 from the White House.

Officials said he would outline plans to maintain the current force of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through most of next year, then draw down to 5,500 troops in 2017, at a pace still to be determined by commanders.

Obama had aimed to withdraw all but a small U.S. Embassy-based force at Kabul before leaving office in January 2017.

The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan ended its combat mission after 13 years of war at the end of 2014, and Afghan troops have since been in charge of the nation's security, with help from U.S. and NATO troops.

But Afghan forces have struggled recently in assaults from Taliban militants, who briefly took over the northern city of Kunduz.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters