Joint chiefs chairman visits Afghanistan

April 6, 2013 at 6:22 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, April 6 (UPI) -- Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, traveled to Afghanistan Saturday to determine American troop level needs for 2014.

U.S. forces are set to end combat operations in Afghanistan next year, but will leave behind several thousand military members to carry on training of Afghan forces once they retake control of their own national security.

Dempsey's trip, though, has thus far been marred by ongoing violence. Three foreign coalition soldiers were killed in a car bomb attack in southeast Zabul province, NATO officials said. Their identities and nationalities had not been released, the Los Angeles Times said. Another attack on an Afghanistan provincial governor killed a doctor and wounded several others.

Dempsey was scheduled to meet with other U.S. generals and Afghanistan military officials to determine what needs must be met by American soldiers. There are now 100,000 coalition soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan, including 68,000 Americans. Dempsey said he will decide sometime this summer how many will remain in the country, depending on the progress the Afghan army makes in warding off Taliban fighters.

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