U.S. commander proposes Afghan troop options for after 2014

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, flanked by Marine Gen. John Allen, left, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham, right, listens during a meeting with Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, not pictured, Dec. 13, 2012, in Kabul, Afghanistan.
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The U.S. military would keep between 6,000 and 20,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014 under recommendations submitted by the outgoing top American commander there, The New York Times reported in Thursday's editions.

A Pentagon official confirmed to CBS Radio News correspondent Cami McCormick that Marine Gen. John Allen made his recommendations to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, but could not confirm what specific troop levels he has proposed as options.

Citing a senior military official, the Times reported Allen gave Panetta plans for 6,000, 10,000 and 20,000 troops from which to choose for when NATO's combat mission ends at the close of 2014. Allen noted that the risk for failure decreases as the troop levels increase, the Times reported.

The Times could not determine whether President Obama had reviewed Allen's recommendations. Defense officials told the newspaper Mr. Obama was expected to talk about them next week when Afghan President Hamid Karzai visits Washington.

McCormick reports the White House and the Pentagon are focusing on troop levels for after 2014 first and then will center on the pace of drawing down this year from the about 66,000 troops currently serving in Afghanistan.

Allen is expected to be replaced by Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford. Allen's nomination as NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe has been on hold since the Pentagon opened an investigation into his involvement in the sex scandal of former CIA Director David Petraeus.

  • Alex Sundby

    Alex Sundby is an associate news editor for CBSNews.com