The commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan just told Congress that the U.S. will continue to have a "significant combat presence" in Afghanistan in 2013.
One of the declarations from last year's NATO summit in Lisbon was that the Afghan Security Forces would take the lead for security in 2013. But, during a tense exchange with Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Gen. John Allen declared that the U.S. will still need many of the post-surge combat troops to remain in the fight.
McCain asked Allen whether he has any opinion right now as to what the U.S. presence will be in 2013.
"My opinion is that we will need significant combat power in 2013," Allen responded.
McCain asked if "significant" meant 68,000 troops (the number that will be left after the surge troops re-deploy at the end of summer 2012).
"68,000 is a good going-in number, but I owe the president some analysis on that," Allen replied.