Under the emerging plan, the American counterterrorism force might number less than 1,000, one military official said. In a parallel effort, NATO forces would advise Afghan forces at major regional military and police headquarters but most likely have a minimal battlefield role, with the exception of some special operations advisers.

Final decisions on the size of the American and NATO presence after 2014 and its precise configuration have not been made by the United States or its allies. But one option calls for about 10,000 American and several thousand non-American NATO troops…

The planning for a post-2014 force is the Obama administration’s first order of business on Afghanistan for several reasons. The United States has opened talks with the Afghans on a security agreement that would authorize an American troop presence in Afghanistan after 2014. So American officials need to define what role American and NATO forces might play then.