WASHINGTON - Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday he thinks that 10,000 US troops should remain in Afghanistan after 2014, when President Barack Obama wants to withdraw most combat troops.
McConnell has just finished a visit to Afghanistan with a small group of his fellow Republican senators, his seventh trip there in the past decade.
"I think we're going to need a minimum of about 10,000 troops here to provide adequate training and counter-terrorism in the post-2014 period. And we anticipate there'll be forces from other countries who will remain here beyond 2014 as well," McConnell told reporters on a conference call during a stop in Italy after leaving Afghanistan.
The Obama administration has been considering a residual force of between 3,000 and 9,000 troops - far fewer than some US commanders propose. Republicans had cautioned the administration against allowing anything other than conditions on the ground and security concerns to dictate the pace of the US withdrawal.