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Obama says 8,400 US troops will remain in Afghanistan at the end of 2016

Pres. Obama: Leaving 8,400 troops at year-end

President Barack Obama said Wednesday the U.S. will keep 8,400 troops in Afghanistan through the end of the year, more than originally planned.

"Maintaining our forces at this specific level, based on our assessment of security conditions and the strength of Afghan forces, will allow us to continue to provide tailored support to help Afghan forces continue to improve," Obama said.

"The decision we made today can help our allies and partners align their own commitments," he said.

Originally, Obama was considering whether to move ahead with a scheduled reduction in the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan from about 9,800 currently to 5,500 by the start of 2017.

Barack Obama
Olivier Douliery-Pool | Getty Images

Some generals and diplomats had urged him to forgo those plans, warning they could undermine the fight against the Afghan Taliban.

"My decision also sends a message to the Taliban and all those who have opposed Afghanistan's progress. You have now been waging war against the Afghan people for many years. You've been unable to prevail," Obama said.

The president also said this decision "best positions my successor to make future decisions about our presence in Afghanistan."

— Reuters contributed to this report.