London: The Obama adminitration has said for the first time it is possible that no US troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014.
Ben Rhodes, a White House deputy national security adviser, said the administration was still considering a range of options.
Rhodes said that ‘the US does not have an inherent objective of `X` number of troops in Afghanistan’.
He said that the US has an ‘objective of making sure there is no safe haven for al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and making sure that the Afghan government has a security force that is sufficient to ensure the stability of the Afghan government.’
According to the Telegraph, when asked whether the US was considering a ‘zero option’ for a residual force after the end of the US combat mission in 2014, Rhodes said that ‘it would be an option that they would consider’.
His statement could be interpreted as part of an administration negotiating strategy, the paper said.
On Friday Afghan President Hamid Karzai is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss ways of framing an enduring partnership beyond 2014, the report added.