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(NECN/NBC News: Tracie Potts) - Meetings are happening Thursday morning in Afghanistan that could determine how long the U.S. stays there.
Our combat troops are still coming home next year, but thousands of other Americans may stay in Afghanistan for another decade.
Afghan leaders are meeting Thursday morning to vote. President Hamid Karzai told them his biggest concern is stopping the U.S. from killing innocent civilians.
The U.S. confirmed troops left in Afghanistan are for training, not combat.
Secretary of State John Kerry said, "It is entirely train, equip, and assist. There is no combat role for U.S. forces."
A draft agreement obtained by NBC News would allow the U.S. to remain as long as 2024 and possibly even longer.
The White House told the New York Times that no date has been decided.
Karzai said Thursday as many as 15,000 Americans might stay.
U.S. Army Retired General Barry McCaffrey said, "We shouldn't leave thousands of Americans spread out all over this gigantic hostile country."
As the pullout of U.S. troops gets closer, violence is heating up in Afghanistan.
The fear is that once the U.S. leaves, the Taliban will take over and democracy will fall apart.