Washington, Oct 15 (IANS) US President Barack Obama announced plans on Thursday to keep 5,500 American troops in Afghanistan up to 2017, and to maintain the current 9,800 forces through “most of 2016”.

“First, I have decided to maintain our current posture of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through most of next year, 2016,” Obama made the announcement at the White House. “Their mission will not change.”

“Second, I’ve decided that instead of going down to a normal embassy presence in Kabul by the end of 2016, we will maintain 5,500 troops, including at Bagram, Jalalabad in the east, and Kandahar in the south.”

In key areas of Afghanistan, “the security situation is still very fragile,” he warned.