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Politics

U.S. plans to reduce the number of Marines in Afghanistan

Currently the United States maintains 33,000 troops to confront the Taliban and other extremist groups have weakened after more than 12 years of Afghan and NATO offensive

Since the general election held in Afghanistan on April 5, officers from the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon have resumed discussions on the number of troops that should remain in the country after Washington led coalition ends its mission this year.

The decision to consider a small force, possibly with fewer than 5,000 members, reflects the thinking of these White House officials that Afghan security forces have evolved and strengthened to contain a Taliban-led insurgency potential.

U.S. forces would continue in the country could focus on counterterrorism operations or training.

The idea is based in part on the peaceful elections in Afghanistan, which won praise for its high turnout - estimated at 60 percent of the 12 million voters - and the failure of the Taliban to carry out major attacks that day , stressed the authorities.

The administration of President Barack Obama has spent months looking for options for a possible residual force.

"The debate is very much alive," said a senior U.S. official who declined to be identified. "They are looking for additional options below 10,000 soldiers."

There are currently about 33,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, far less than the 100,000 that were reached in 2011, up to a decade.

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