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Pace Of 2016 U.S. Withdrawal From Afghanistan Not Determined

A U.S.Marines in the southern Helmand province. (file photo)
A U.S.Marines in the southern Helmand province. (file photo)

A spokesman for U.S. military forces in Afghanistan says the pace of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2016 has yet to be determined and will be decided in the autumn after an assessment of the capabilities of Afghan government forces.

The spokesman, Colonel Brian Tribus, made the remarks in an interview with RFE/RL on July 20.

Tribus said U.S. General John Campbell, the current commander of the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and U.S. forces in the country, would make recommendations after his assessment and the White House would then decide on the pace of the 2016 withdrawal.

Tribus said the growing number of militants who claim allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) militant group was a concern to both the United States and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, but did not appear to present "an existential threat" to Ghani’s government.

He said some Taliban militants were rebranding themselves as IS, probably to try to get resources, while there also are cases of Taliban militants fighting against the IS group.