One of the four options President Obama is considering for a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan beyond this year would leave behind 3,000 troops, based in Kabul and at the American installation at Bagram, U.S. officials said.
Military commanders have recommended 10,000 troops, with more installations across the country. But the military has spent the past several months studying what kind of reduced counterterrorism and training operations it could conduct under the smaller option, which some in the White House favor.
The Soviets initially left advisers and funded the Afghan military, Allen said in remarks at the Stimson Center on Friday. But the dissolution of the Soviet Union soon afterward ended that assistance, led to the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and "resulted directly" in al-Qaeda's Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Allen said.