Accessibility links

Breaking News

Pentagon Chief Says Afghan Withdrawal To Be Reviewed

File photo of U.S. soldiers firing a mortar in eastern Afghanistan.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has said a more unified Afghan government was giving Washington reason to consider slowing the drawdown of American forces in the country.

The new Pentagon chief spoke at a news conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul on February 21.

U.S. forces ended their main combat mission in December 2014 but have remained in smaller numbers to continue training and advising the Afghans and to conduct counterterrorism strikes against extremist groups.

President Barack Obama initially planned to cut troops levels in half by the end of this year and remove nearly all in 2016.

But Carter said Obama and Ghani will discuss possible changes to the plan when the Afghan president visits Washington in March.

He said the two leaders also will discuss a possible "rethinking" of the U.S. counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters