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Obama to keep 5,500 troops in Afghanistan after 2016

President Obama has reversed plans to bring home the vast majority of US troops in Afghanistan at the end of 2016, with more than half of the current deployment of 9,800 troops set to remain in the country, NBC News has reported.

Mr Obama had originally hoped to leave 1,000 troops to solely protect the American embassy in Kabul after declaring the war in Afghanistan to be over.

President Obama, who hosted Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani at the White House in March, has effectively abandoned his goal to bring home almost all US troops before leaving office. Credit: Reuters

But after several months of discussions, including with Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani, Mr Obama has accepted the military and political consensus is to keep a presence of 5,500 troops beyond next year to fight the twin threats from al Qaeda and Islamic State.

Senior White House officials told NBC News the short-lived loss of the city of Kunduz to militants was not the main factor in Mr Obama's decision - which will be officially announced later - but confirmed they were watching Kunduz closely.

The additional troops will be housed at bases in Bagram, Jalalabad, and Kandahar and continue to operate a "limited mission" of counter-terrorism alongside the training of Afghan forces at an additional cost of around $4.6 billion (£3 billion).



Homeland security chief 'salutes' Pierson for service

Credit: Reuters

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has paid tribute to outgoing director of the US Secret Service Julia Pierson in a statement.

Today Julia Pierson, the director of the United States Secret Service, offered her resignation, and I accepted it.

I salute her 30 years of distinguished service to the Secret Service and the Nation.

– Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

Experts to investigate White House security breach

An independent panel of experts will investigate a incident where an intruder managed to climb over a White House fence and enter the building last month, US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.

Mr Johnson also named Secret Service veteran Joseph Clancy as Acting Director of the agency following Ms Pierson resignation.

Director of US Secret Service Julia Pierson resigns

Julia Pierson Credit: Reuters

Julia Pierson has resigned as the director of the US Secret Service, the Department for Home Security has confirmed.

It comes after she faced a committee of US politicians to answer questions over a series of breaches in White House security.

The breaches included an intruder jumping the fence of the White House who was apprehended inside armed with a knife and an incident in 2011 where bullets were fired at the South side of the historic building.

Armed convict was allowed to share lift with Obama

Another incident has come to light for which President Obama's Secret Service protection team is facing criticism.

A private security agent who had a gun shared an elevator with Obama in Atlanta on September 16, three days before the White House intrusion, a Secret Service official said.

Barack Obama pictured at the White House yesterday. Credit: Reuters

The man, who was operating an elevator carrying Obama and his Secret Service detail during the president's visit to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aroused suspicion when he began taking pictures and video of Obama on his phone, the official said.

During questioning, the man's supervisor asked for his gun, startling Secret Service agents.

Under agency rules, people with access to the president need special clearance to carry guns.

The Washington Post, which along with the Washington Examiner, first reported the incident, said the man had three convictions for assault and battery.

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