Panetta, Germany differ on post-combat Afghanistan troop numbers
BRUSSELS — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his German counterpart offered conflicting accounts today of a discussion about how many U.S. and European forces would remain in Afghanistan after the anticipated end of combat after 2014.
German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters Panetta had informed him at the Brussels meeting that the United States would leave between 8,000 and 10,000 troops in the war-torn country at the end of 2014.
But Panetta called the remarks inaccurate. He told reporters that he and the NATO partners instead talked about ranges of options for the post-2014 troop force. And he said the figures reflected contributions that other nations would make, in addition to the U.S.