Officials: Obama to keep troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016

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By LOLITA C. BALDOR and JULIE PACE
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senior administration officials say President Barack Obama will keep 5,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan when he leaves office in 2017.
    
Obama’s decision casts aside his promise to end the war on his watch and instead ensures he hands the conflict off to his successor.
    
Obama had originally planned to pull out all but a small, embassy-based U.S. military presence by the end of next year, a timeline coinciding with the final weeks of his presidency. But military leaders argued for months that the Afghans needed additional assistance and support from the U.S. in order to beat back a resurgent Taliban and hold onto gains made over the last 14 years.
    
The president is expected to announce the changes Thursday morning from the White House.

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