US says not reviewing more Afghanistan troop withdrawals

WASHINGTON - The White House said on Tuesday it is not reviewing options for further US troop withdrawals from Afghanistan in the aftermath of a shooting of 16 civilians there by a US soldier.
The New York Times reported that the Obama administration was discussing whether to reduce US forces in Afghanistan by at least an additional 20,000 troops by 2013.
"The White House is not currently reviewing options for further troop withdrawals and no decisions have been made. As the president has said, we will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.
"After that initial reduction, our troops will continue coming home at a steady pace as Afghan security forces move into the lead. The president will make decisions on further drawdowns at the appropriate time based on our interests and in consultation with our allies and Afghan partners."
Vietor said US officials looked forward to an upcoming NATO meeting in Chicago "to define the next phase of transition."
A US official said the administration did not anticipate a decision on troop numbers to be made before a NATO summit in Chicago in May.
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