"The United States and its partner countries are reducing military involvement in Afghanistan in preparation to end the current international security mission by the end of 2014. As agreed by President Obama and Afghan President Karzai, and announced January 11, 2013, Afghan forces will assume the security lead nationwide in the spring of 2013 and U.S. forces will move to a support role. The number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, which peaked at about 100,000 in June 2011, has been reduced to a 'pre-surge' level of 66,000 as of September 20, 2012. President Obama announced that 34,000 of the contingent will leave by February 2014. The size of the U.S. force that will remain in Afghanistan after 2014 is under discussion among the United States, its allies, and the Afghan government, and reportedly centers on about 8,000-12,000 U.S. forces, plus about 4,000 partner forces. U.S. troops that remain after 2014 would do so under a U.S.- Afghanistan security agreement that is under negotiation pursuant to a May 1, 2012, U.S.-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement. The forces would reportedly engage in counter-terrorism missions as well as train the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF). Still, fearing instability after 2014, some key ethnic and political faction leaders are preparing to revive their militia forces should the international drawdown lead to a major Taliban push to retake power."
CRS Report for Congress, RL30588