The U.S. commander of the international forces in Afghanistan has warned that a full troop withdrawal in 2014 could result in the regrouping of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network.
General Joseph Dunford said Al-Qaeda is currently in a "survival mode" in Afghanistan.
Dunford, who was speaking before the Senate Armed Forces Committee, recommended a residual international force of between 8,000 and 12,000 troops to assist, train and advise Afghan forces.
"If we leave at the end of 2014, the Afghan security forces would begin to deteriorate," he told senators.
He also said that if no security agreement is signed by fall, it would get increasingly difficult to manage an orderly withdrawal.
The U.S. has threatened it could pull out all of its troops from Afghanistan if a security pact is not signed soon.
With reporting by AP