Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.
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(CNN) – President Barack Obama announced Tuesday his plan for almost 10,000 American troops to remain in Afghanistan in 2015, if the Afghan government signs a security agreement.
Obama called for 9,800 U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan after the end of 2014, along with some allied forces. The number would get cut roughly in half by the end of 2015, and by the end of 2016 - shortly before Obama's presidency concludes - the U.S. military presence would scale down to an embassy security operation, he said.
But if the region spirals into chaos after the U.S. withdrawal, the numbers may be adjusted.
"The President is clear about the timeline we're going to follow, but it's not a hard out," Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said.
"We're not turning our back on Afghanistan from a security perspective. We're going to keep it as long as we're going forward," Kirby said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."
For more of our interview with Rear Adm. John Kirby, check out the video above.