WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he will leave behind more troops in Afghanistan than originally planned.
Speaking from the White House, Obama said he would draw down troops to 8,400, from the initial target of 5,500. The current level of troops in Afghanistan is 9,800.
"The security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious," Obama said. "I strongly believe it is in our national security interest ... that we give our Afghan partners the best opportunities to succeed."
Obama granted U.S. military commanders last month more freedom to strike Taliban targets in support of Afghan troops, Carter announced at a summit at the time.
"This is using the forces we have here in a better way," Carter told the Defense One Tech Summit on June 10, calling the expanded authority "a good use of the combat power that we have there."
At least 34 people were killed last week west of Afghanistan's capital Kabul when two suicide bombers attacked a convoy of buses carrying newly graduated police officers. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, the group's spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said in a statement.