Pentagon Pushing to Increase Post-2016 Troop Levels in Afghanistan

New Plans Aim to Give Military 'Leeway' on When to Carry Out Drawdown

Every planned drawdown of US military forces from Afghanistan seems to turn up later than announced and smaller than planned, and despite officials still sticking to the NATO narrative that the Afghan War “ended,” some 10,000 US troops remain there. Officially, the plan is for a major drawdown by the end of next year that will finally catch up with what was supposed to be a 2014 pullout.

Unsurprisingly, the Pentagon is once again fighting against following through on the plans, with officials saying the “plans” they are advancing both intend to withhold the troop level reductions deeper into 2017, and to give the Pentagon more “leeway” in when and how many troops get removed from the country after 2017.

Already 14 years into the occupation of Afghanistan, the continuing struggles of the Afghan military continues to drag US ground troops into combat, and many officials seem to favor just maintaining the occupation essentially forever instead of ending the war and watching the government continue to lose territory to the same insurgency they’ve been fighting throughout that war.

With less and less media coverage of the Afghan War, there seems to be less political interest in seeing the troops brought home, which likely will ensure that the Pentagon proposals to keep troops there get through without too much debate.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of