US likely to delay planned closure of two Afghanistan bases

March 19, 2015 03:42

WASHINGTON- The US military bases in Kandahar and Jalalabad are likely to remain open beyond the end of 2015, a senior US official said, as Washington considers slowing its military pull-out from Afghanistan to help the new government fight the Taliban.

The anticipated policy reversal reflects the US embrace of Afghanistan's new and more cooperative president, Ashraf Ghani, and a desire to avoid the kind of collapse of local security forces that occurred in Iraq after the US pull-out there.

The US official said conditions had changed since May when President Barack Obama declared that by the end of 2015 the US force would be roughly halved from the current total of about 10,000 and would operate only from bases in Kabul and Bagram.

The White House had no immediate comment on the possibility of maintaining the Kandahar and Jalalabad bases into next year.

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