WASHINGTON (AP) -- The pace of U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan will headline Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's visit to Washington. Yet America's exit from the war remains tightly hinged to the abilities of the Afghan forces that face a tough fight against insurgents this spring.
President Barack Obama has promised to end the longest U.S. war and get the remaining troops out of Afghanistan by the end of his presidency.
Several factors have combined to persuade Obama to slow the withdrawal: deficiencies in the Afghan security forces, heavy casualties in the ranks of the army and police, a fragile new government, and fears that Islamic State fighters could gain a foothold in Afghanistan.
The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. U.S. forces number about 9,800 troops.