WASHINGTON — U.S. officials say the Obama administration is abandoning plans to cut the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan to 5,500 by year's end.
It's a bow to military leaders who want to keep more troops, including many into the 2016 fighting season.
No final decision on numbers has been made. But the officials say the administration is poised to slow withdrawal plans and probably will allow many of the 9,800 American troops to remain well into next year.
There also are discussions about keeping a steady number of counterterrorism troops into 2015, including having some remain in the country or be nearby beyond 2016.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly before final decisions have been made.