NEW YORK - The Pentagon has submitted a proposal to the White House that would keep 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after the US combat mission ends in 2014, according to a senior US official.

The 10,000-troop plan or any other troop proposal could still be rejected by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has not yet signed a bilateral security agreement that would allow American soldiers to remain in the country.

The plan to leave 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, has been backed by both the State Department and intelligence agencies. They have told the White House they need this many troops so the Pentagon can secure the bases where personnel could continue to work safely in Afghanistan.

The Wall Street Journal reports the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan General Joseph Dunford told White House advisers last week he feels the US should have 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, or withdraw all of them. “The proposal is 10,000 or basically nothing, a pullout,” The New York Times quoted an unnamed US official, who has been briefed on the plan, as saying.

About 37,500 American troops are currently stationed in Afghanistan. The United States and its NATO allies have been planning for months now to end the long Afghan mission, with Washington insisting that a range of 8,000 to 12,000 troops, most of the Americans, must remain there. The figure 10,000 is the mid-point.

Reuters adds: Afghanistan’s government, increasingly at odds with Washington, is cracking down on advertisements that promote keeping US troops in the country after 2014 and has already shut down a spot aired by the country’s most widely watched broadcasters.

The commercials - some funded by a US organisation - have drawn official criticism because they urge President Hamid Karzai to abandon his refusal to sign a security pact with the United States that would enable the troops to stay.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is considering ways to ensure future financial assistance for Afghanistan after US lawmakers halved development aid to the country.

In a massive spending bill signed into law on Friday by President Barack Obama, lawmakers provided $1.12 billion to Afghanistan for fiscal 2014 for overall civilian assistance, a 50 percent reduction from the previous fiscal year. It was still unclear, however, how much aid the country would actually receive for 2014.

US officials said they were looking at the details of the bill, and would also explore if they could use unspent money from the previous year or from elsewhere in the budget to increase the amount of funding for Afghanistan.

“While overall levels for the major civilian assistance accounts have been reduced, the bill itself does not include any specific cap for Afghanistan,” an official at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said on condition of anonymity.