Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has said the Obama administration is open to reviewing its plan to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by January 2017, Bloomberg reported Friday.
Carter told reporters in Kabul the review could introduce changes to President Barack Obama’s timetable that seeks to draw down nearly 10,000 soldiers at present to 5,500 soldiers by the end of 2015, David Lerman reports.
“Our priority now is to make sure this progress sticks,” Carter told a press conference.
“That is why President Obama is considering a number of options to reinforce our support for [Afghan] President [Ashraf] Ghani’s security strategy, including possible changes to the timeline for our drawdown of U.S. troops,” he said.
Carter said the U.S. and Afghan governments are rethinking a counterterrorism operation and assessing the current security situation in the Middle Eastern country, according to the report.
Carter made his first visit to Kabul as the new defense secretary to meet with Ghani, who is scheduled visit Washington in March to discuss with Obama the number of troops required to remain in Afghanistan, Bloomberg reports.
The U.S. is on a new mission to train Afghan troops on counterterrorism missions.