President Barack Obama recently declared his support for a continued troop presence in Afghanistan after 2014. According to USA Today, the principal goals of the U.S. military will be to ensure training and help the fledgling Afghan army buttress its counter-terrorism skills. The source reported that the troops, totaling 9,800, will give the U.S. enough power to establish six bases with the help of the Afghan army, which may lead to army benefits for the force. According to The New York Times, Obama will elaborate on his strategy regarding Afghanistan – which involves combating terrorist threats in other parts of the world – in his commencement address at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. The address is being given today. 

"After all the sacrifices we've made, we want to preserve the gains that you have helped to win and we're going to make sure that Afghanistan can never again, ever, be used again to launch an attack against our country," said Obama, according to NBC News.

Obama's comments reflect the desire of the U.S. to remain committed to the Afghan people and government, given America's enormous involvement in helping the country transition to democracy. NBC News noted that the number of remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan is based on the tacit assumption that Afghan leaders will agree to accept the troops. The source suggests that the current Afghan presidential candidates have said that they will allow the U.S. troops into Afghanistan – though the U.S. has quarreled with former President Hamid Karzai about troops within Afghanistan.

According to The New York Times, the president seeks to have all U.S combat troops out of Afghanistan by 2016. This lends credence to the stated reasons for sending U.S. troops to Afghanistan – training and developing an army that will eventually function as an autonomous entity.