US: No decision to alter role of US troops in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - The White House said on Thursday there had been no decision to change the role of US troops in Afghanistan, saying comments by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta about American troops ending their lead combat duties in 2013 was not a shift.
"This was an assessment of what could happen within the context of the stated policy of NATO, which is to transfer security lead to the Afghan security forces by 2014, and within that frame, within that timeline, the transition will take place," White House spokesman Jay Carney told a briefing.
"That's what Secretary Panetta was referring to."
Panetta said late on Wednesday the United States would stop taking the lead role in combat operations before the end of 2013 and step into a supporting role.
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