Wraps come off special operations Afghan war plan

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Associated Press has learned new details of a special operations-centered Afghanistan war plan that would replace thousands of U.S. troops with small, elite teams paired with Afghans to help the inexperienced Afghan force withstand a Taliban onslaught as U.S. troops withdraw.

Roughly 2,000 elite troops would carry out raids with Afghan forces, while twice that number would help secure the countryside.

Rather than simply hunt terrorists, the troops would help keep the Afghan government in control at least long enough to safely withdraw.

If approved by the administration, the small unit structure could become the enduring force Afghan officials this week said they need.

The Pentagon asked top officials to develop options to present to the White House after NATO allies decide how many troops to keep in Afghanistan.