Pentagon: Afghan forces will need help beyond 2014

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By ROBERT BURNS, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon is telling Congress that although Afghanistan's military is getting stronger, it will still require much more training — as well as financial help — after the U.S. and NATO combat mission ends next year.

The Pentagon's argument comes amid debate about the White House's reluctance to announce how many — if any — U.S. forces should remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014 to help Afghan forces hold off the Taliban.

White House officials have held out the possibility that no U.S. forces would stay, but no decision has been made.

In a twice-a-year report to Congress, the Pentagon said Tuesday that it will be difficult to judge whether Afghanistan can keep the upper hand against the Taliban until the exact size of a post-2014 U.S. military presence is determined.

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