Panetta Works On Troops Plan in Afghanistan

Up to 15,000 troops will remain after 2014


U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta met with American commanders in Afghanistan on Wednesday to finish work on options that will be presented to President Barack Obama for keeping a limited American troop presence in the country after 2014.

Mr. Panetta met with Gen. John Allen, the commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, whose preliminary recommendations call for 6,000 to 15,000 U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization mission formally concludes in two years.

The Pentagon is under White House pressure to make do with as small a force as possible after 2014. But some military commanders worry about the U.S.'s ability to keep Afghanistan stable and prevent a Taliban and al Qaeda comeback, officials say.