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Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., a senior member of the committee, welcomed the news Friday that NATO defense ministers are ready to reverse an earlier plan to slash funding for the Afghan National Security Forces after 2015.

NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels this week discussed plans to retain an Afghan National Security Force of about 352,000 troops. The plan had been to reduce Afghan forces to about 230,000 after 2015, when most U.S. troops will have been returned home.

Levin and Reed wrote to National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon, urging the Obama administration to reconsider the planned reductions after their fact-finding trip to Afghanistan in January. - The Detroit News, 2/22/13
In addition to maintaining more Afghan forces than previously planned, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is working to improve the operations of Afghanistan’s defense and interior ministries, a NATO official said today in Brussels.

Senior Afghan officials, concerned that the withdrawal of U.S. and allied forces from the country could lead to chaos, may lose their commitment to govern and continue the fight against the Taliban, according to the official, who asked not to be identified discussing the alliance’s deliberations.

“I have confidence that we’ll be able to finance Afghan security forces of that size,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said today at a news conference at the alliance headquarters in Brussels.

Paying for Afghanistan’s security isn’t just a NATO responsibility, Rasmussen said. “This is a responsibility for the international community.”  - Bloomberg, 2/21/13

Here's some more details on the drafted proposal:

A draft proposal discussed here for possible NATO operations in Afghanistan after 2014 envisions a force of up to 9,500 American troops and up to 6,000 more from other coalition nations, according to alliance officials, who stressed that no final decisions had been made. Other NATO officials said the combined American and allied force would be smaller, falling in a range of 8,000 to 12,000 troops.

George Little, the Pentagon spokesman, said reports that the United States had told its allies it was considering 8,000 to 12,000 of its own troops were wrong. “A range of 8-12,000 troops was discussed as the possible size of the overall NATO mission, not the U.S. contribution,” Mr. Little said. “The president is still reviewing options and has not made a decision about the size of a possible U.S. presence after 2014.”

In official comments, NATO’s secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said the session included serious discussion on “preparing a new and different NATO-led mission after 2014 to train, advise and assist Afghan Security Forces.” - New York Times, 2/22/13

White House officials have stated that by May, U.S. troop levels will fall to 60,500 along with further reductions to 52,500 by November and to 33,000 by February 2014.  Leave your thoughts in the comments.  

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