Appointed as the latest in a long, long line of US commanders of the Afghanistan occupation earlier this year, officials say Lt. Gen. John Nicholson is putting the finishing touches on his 90-day assessment of the situation in the country, and expect that he will recommend troops levels to remain flat.
The US currently has about 9,800 troops in Afghanistan, and while the plan initially was to get that number to 5,500 by year’s end, the drawdown plan had already been on hold even before Nicholson took over.
In that sense, the news could be worse, as Nicholson was previously talking of “right-sizing” the number of ground troops, which most saw as a euphemism for a new round of deployments bringing the troop levels back over 10,000.
That is apparently not going to be the case, though along with expectations of keeping troop levels flat, Pentagon officials also added that they don’t see any chances of new peace talks any time soon with the Taliban, suggesting that the drawdown is unlikely to be revisited any time soon.
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