US considers leaving smaller number of troops in Afghanistan

In this Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012 file photo, U.S. soldiers, part of the NATO- led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), walk west of Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Hoshang Hashimi, File)

(AP) – The top U.S. military officer has told Congress that the Pentagon is considering several options to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan.

One option would mean shifting to a narrower counterterrorism mission.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff isn’t disclosing any potential troop totals. But Gen. Mark Milley says leaving a a minimal U.S. footprint in Afghanistan to battle terrorists is a potential move.

The U.S. currently has about 13,000 troops in Afghanistan. About 5,000 are doing counterterrorism missions.

Later Wednesday, the top U.S. commander for Afghanistan is scheduled to brief lawmakers in a closed session.

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