US troop plan in Afghanistan follows Iraq playbook

Troops Overseas
Posted at 5:19 PM, Jan 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-09 17:19:00-05

WASHINGTON (AP)-- It's the same debate, but the White House is working harder now to keep troops in Afghanistan than it did in similar but failed discussions in Iraq in 2011.

Security remains shaky in both war zones, but officials say the administration cannot afford to lose in Afghanistan after years of fighting and an ongoing threat by al-Qaida.

The official who oversaw the administration's failed negotiations in Baghdad in 2011, former Ambassador James F. Jeffrey, says "of course" President Barack Obama wanted to keep troops in Iraq and is trying now to keep them in Afghanistan.

The U.S. has 66,000 troops in Afghanistan, down from 100,000 in 2010. How many troops might remain is at the heart of discussion in Washington, where Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai meets with Obama on Friday.