Breaking: Obama to announce halt of U.S. troop withdrawal in Afghanistan

The United States will halt its military withdrawal from Afghanistan and instead keep thousands of troops in the country through the end of President Obama’s term in 2017, Mr. Obama will announce on Thursday, prolonging the American role in a war that has now stretched on for 14 years.

The current American force in Afghanistan of 9,800 troops will remain in place through most of 2016 under the Obama administration’s revised plans, before dropping to about 5,500 at the end of next year or in early 2017, senior administration officials said.

Some of the troops will continue to train and advise Afghan forces, while others will carry on the search for Qaeda fighters and militants from the Islamic State and other groups who have found a haven in Afghanistan, they said.

In abandoning his ambition to bring home almost all American troops before leaving office, Mr. Obama appears to be acknowledging that Afghan security forces are still not near ready to hold off the Taliban on their own.