United States President Barack Obama. - A file photo

PESHAWAR, 16 October: The United States President Barack Obama has announced to extend the stay of US troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016.

In a statement from the White House on Thursday, the US president said about 10,000 US troops will stay in Afghanistan in 2016. He said the strength of the US troops in Afghanistan will be reduced to 5,500 in 2017.

Obama said the US combat mission in Afghanistan has ended but cooperation with the Afghan government will continue as promised. He said the US troops will train the Afghan security forces and will also take part in operations against militants. He said the US cannot allow Afghanistan to be used by terrorists as safe haven. He said security in some areas of Afghanistan is fragile and may get further deteriorated. Obama also appreciated Pakistan’s role in eliminating terrorism.

According to US officials, the US troops will stay in Kandahar, Jalalabad, Bagram and Kabul. They said the enhanced attacks of the Taliban militants in Afghanistan was the main cause of extension of US troops stay in Afghanistan.

The decision of the US president came days after the Taliban militants occupied the strategic Kunduz city in Afghanistan for two weeks before pulling back.

Compiled from media reports

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