WASHINGTON: United States President Barack Obama will probably delay the decision in front of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) of nearly halving American forces in Afghanistan, a US diplomat said. A decision had been expected at or before the summit in Warsaw on July 8-9 on whether to pursue plans to slash the 9,800 troops to 5,500 before Obama leaves office next year. However, former commanders and envoys had warned that it would be a mistake and with preparations in full swing for the summit, the timing of any decision by Obama remains unclear. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter will fly to Brussels on Monday to meet NATO counterparts and Afghanistan issue is expected to be high on the agenda. One reason to decide on slowing the US draw down before the summit might be to encourage NATO allies to keep their troops in Afghanistan, where President Ashraf Ghani’s government is battling a Taliban insurgency that has gathered fresh momentum. NATO allies also seemed less intent on cutting their troop presence, which could give Obama more time to formulate and telegraph his own plans. “We have been moderately, pleasantly surprised at the willingness to stay at current levels of most other allies, and some willingness to consider increasing,” said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Just because there is a summit doesn’t mean (you) need a decision,” he added. However, Afghanistan will be a major issue at the summit to be sure about future policy and Obama still could make a decision before then. “It does not have to happen by Warsaw but it certainly will be a topic there,” another US official said who also spoke on condition of anonymity. “The size and scope of other nation contributions are a logical consideration in our decision-making,” he added. The White House has yet to receive the recommendations from its new commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, who conducted a comprehensive security review during his first 90 days on the job. The review’s results have not been made public. In a sign of his willingness to broaden the US’s role in Afghanistan, last week Obama approved giving the US military greater ability to accompany and to enable Afghan forces in offensive operations, including carrying out air strikes. White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Friday that the decision to broaden the remit “does not limit in any way our ability to follow through with the plan to draw down our troops at a level of 5,500 troops by the end of this year. “Obama would consider changing the troop numbers if Nicholson recommended that, he said. Nicholson’s predecessors and former US envoys to Afghanistan urged Obama earlier this month in a letter to keep troop levels steady at near 10,000 through the remainder of his term. “This approach would also allow your successor to assess the situation for herself or himself and make further adjustments accordingly,” the letter read. Cutting the forces to 5,500 in turn would erode the morale of Afghan government forces and bolster the Taliban, the letter continued. Obama had already scaled back the troop withdrawal plans he laid out in May 2014, when he pledged to cut to roughly 5,000 by end 2015 and to “a normal embassy presence … with a security assistance component, just as we’ve done in Iraq” by the end of 2016. Among the factors weighing in his troop decision include how much if any additional support he may get from other NATO nations; the signal that a cut will send to President Ghani and to the Taliban; and what kind of legacy he leaves his successor.