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NATO to discuss post 2014 force

Joseph Dunford, head of international forces in Afghanistan, said he expected NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels this week to further define the nature of the mission they want to perform in Afghanistan after 2014.  Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, head of international forces in Afghanistan, said he expected NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels this week to further define the nature of the mission they want to perform in Afghanistan after 2014, when most foreign combat troops withdraw. Afghan forces are now taking the lead in planning and executing military operations against the Taliban, with U.S.-led NATO troops providing support. Afghan forces are due to assume full security responsibility after 2014, and only a small NATO contingent will remain to provide training, advice and assistance. U.S. officials said during a meeting of NATO defense ministers in February that the alliance was considering keeping a residual force of 8,000 to 12,000 troops. The White House has been discussing keeping 3,000 to 9,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan as part of that, and President Barack Obama has come under increasing pressure to specify the number.

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