President Barack Obama is weighing an option to keep roughly 10,000 US troops as NATO seeks to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, a senior US official said Monday.

The number of follow-on force remains under consideration but would likely comprise “a small number of special operations forces dedicated to counterterrorism missions” while remaining troops would provide training and logistical support for Afghan forces.

Keeping 10,000 troops in Afghanistan post-2014 is just one of several options from “different ends of the spectrum,” the official said.

Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Leon Pannetta said the White House was studying the option based on the assessment of Gen. John Allen, commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Washington said it would gradually pull out 67,000 US troops as it hands over national security to local forces in Afghanistan but has also pledged to retain forces on the ground under an agreement with Kabul, AFP reports.
The number of forces would still be negotiated upon with the Afghan government over access to bases in the country and legal issues, particularly in granting US soldiers immunity from prosecution in local courts.