President Obama announced Wednesday morning that 8,400 troops will remain in Afghanistan by the end of this year. The administration had originally planned to lower the number from 9,800 to 5,500, but the new decision comes as the Taliban is ramping up its efforts in Afghanistan. The president, joined by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, said the goal is to provide a “solid foundation for continued progress” in the next administration. “Afghanistan is not a perfect place. It is one of the poorest countries in the world,” Obama said, adding that it will take time for the Middle Eastern country to build up its military to protect its citizens from threats. “With our support, Afghanistan is a better place than it once was,” Obama continued, citing improvements in the country’s schools, public health and democratic elections.