US President Barack Obama's planned meeting this week with visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai is not meant to set troop levels in Afghanistan beyond 2014, when the US combat role is slated to end, the White House said Tuesday, DPA reported.
Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security advisor, said the deal needs to be finished by November. The meeting Friday with Karzai "is an opportunity for the two presidents to meet during a critical time in the negotiations."
Media reports this week have said the US was considering troop levels from a few thousand up to 20,000 soldiers.
Rhodes said it was not decided that any US troops would remain after December 2014: "We wouldn't rule out any option."