WASHINGTON -- Rep. John Kline said Wednesday he will urge the Obama administration not to depress troop levels in Afghanistan below 10,000 so the Afghan security forces have some intelligence and logistical support through the year.
Kline, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, spoke on the heels of a nine-day trip he took to the region with GOP House Speaker John Boehner and several other House Republicans.
He said he was hopeful about the how the April 5 presidential election was handled, which is likely heading to a runoff between two candidates. He said the runoff, which will come after the summer "fighting" season, means the Afghan security forces will be stressed and may need additional help, like equipment support.
"There's a number that's being discussed," Kline said, in an interview from Minnesota. "I'm very sure it's more than 10,000 to be able to do the job that's done ... The day to day fighting will be done by the Afghans, but they need support."
The president has not made a final decision on the size of force in Afghanistan after 2014. The top commander in Afghanistan told a Senate committee in May, the number may be between 8,000 and 12,000. There has been a U.S. presence in the country for 13 years.
Kline said he doesn't like talking about timelines or personnel numbers, but "it's unavoidable."
"I think it's the wrong metric," he said.
Kline and the other members also visited Turkey, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates, where they toured a 4 million square foot Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi.
"It's the top of the line," Kline said. "That's the advantage, I guess, of being an oil rich country with leadership that's forward-thinking."
Congress is amid a two-week Easter/Passover recess and returns to Washington next week.