WASHINGTON — The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is sending his recommendations to senior leaders this week on how many American troops should remain in the country next year to work with Afghan forces battling a resurgent Taliban, a military spokesman said Wednesday.

Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland said Gen. John Nicholson is finishing his assessment of the ongoing security threat there and the needs of the Afghan military. Speaking to Pentagon reporters from Kabul, Cleveland said the plan will be sent to U.S. Central Command and to the Pentagon, and Nicholson is expected to brief senior military leaders in the next few days.

There has been increased speculation in recent months about whether the U.S. will keep more troops in Afghanistan into next year than originally planned. There are now about 9,800 troops in the country, and President Obama has said that number would drop to 5,500 by the end of this year.

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