With prospects for peace talks increasingly remote, Army Lt. Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr. is wrapping up his recommendations on whether to continue troop withdrawals this year, a U.S. military spokesman in Kabul said Wednesday.
Army Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland said Nicholson has finished his 90-day assessment of the tactical situation in Afghanistan since assuming command from Army Gen. John Campbell and would be sending his report up the chain of command within days.
Nicholson’s assessment will go first to Army Gen. Joseph Votel, and then to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter with input from Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, himself a former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Currently, there are 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the original plan was to have that number down to 5,500 by the end of this year, but the resurgence of the Taliban, the presence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, the depressed economy and political turmoil in Kabul appeared to argue against more withdrawals.
In a video briefing to the Pentagon, Cleveland said of Nicholson’s report that "he is literally finishing it this week as we…