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US troops to stay in Afghanistan in policy shift

The United States is to extend its military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2016, administration officials say. President Barack Obama will outline the plans later. They are expected to include keeping 5,500 troops in the country when he leaves office in 2017. Originally all but a small embassy-based force were due to leave by the end of next year. But the US military says more troops will be needed to help Afghan forces counter a growing Taliban threat. There are currently 9,800 US troops stationed in Afghanistan. Last week, the top US military commander in Afghanistan, Gen John Campbell, said the US must consider extending its military presence there beyond 2016.