Senior Obama administration officials said that 5,500 U.S. troops will be kept in Afghanistan until 2017 -- past the end of Obama's presidency.

The revelation comes as a contrast to what the U.S. president has so far promised, which is to not leave the conflict behind for his successor to deal with.

Obama is reportedly going to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan for the most part of 2016 and keep it down to 5,500 in 2017. According to officials, commanders will decide the pace of the decreasing of numbers.

While Obama said he would like to pull troops out from Afghanistan, leaving only a small military presence in the Middle Eastern country, military leaders argue that the nation needs more support from the United States. According to them, U.S. troops should stay a bit longer to help Afghanistan fight the Taliban.

The decision to slow down the pace of withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan was reportedly taken after Obama had talks with commanders, White House advisors, Pentagon officials and Afghan leaders.

"Those have been broad discussions, deep discussions, ones that have included the president's personal engagement and a number of very detailed questions from the president about our posture," a U.S. official was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Defence Secretary Ash Carter acknowledged on Wednesday that the U.S. was not leaving Afghanistan. "The narrative that we're leaving Afghanistan is self-defeating," said Carter at the Association of the U.S. Army, USA Today reports. "We're not, we can't and to do so would not be to take advantage of the success we've had to date."

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