Be­yond 2014?

Southasia - - Briefing -

At a re­cently held Se­nate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee meet­ing, Gen. Joseph Dun­ford, the newly ap­pointed com­man­der of NATO troops in Afghanistan, re­ceived strong crit­i­cism for his state­ment re­gard­ing the fu­ture of US troops in Afghanistan. Pres­i­dent Obama had an­nounced ear­lier that the with­drawal of NATO troops will take place by De­cem­ber 2014. Dur­ing the Se­nate meet­ing, ne­go­tia­tors from the US and Afghanistan sug­gested a dire need to sign a joint se­cu­rity agree­ment to gov­ern Afghanistan in a post-2014 sce­nario.

Although 2014 is the year of ‘sal­va­tion’ for Afghanistan, Gen. Dun­ford be­lieves that the en­dur­ing role of the troops in the coun­try will ex­tend be­yond this dead­line. Though not adopt­ing a mil­i­tary of­fen­sive, U.S troops will be re­quired to mon­i­tor a peace­ful tran­si­tion, as­sist with devel­op­ment ef­forts and pro­mote demo­cratic struc­tures. The U.S government has, how­ever, pro­posed a com­plete with­drawal with the ab­so­lute min­i­mum involvement of U.S mil­i­tary per­son­nel. Dun­ford’s state­ment comes at a time when the na­tional se­cu­rity team is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a ma­jor shuf­fle in its hi­er­ar­chy and the US is pre­par­ing to pull out 68,000 troops from Afghanistan.

Gen. Dun­ford aims at end­ing Amer­ica’s most ex­pen­sive and un­pop­u­lar war, as soon as pos­si­ble. Ac­cord­ing to the 2014 exit plan, Pres­i­dent Obama, NATO al­lies and Pres­i­dent Karzai want to hand over pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for com­bat and se­cu­rity to Afghan na­tional forces. In­ter­na­tional ob­servers con­tend that nei­ther the Afghan Na­tional Po- lice nor the Afghan Na­tional Army are equipped or pre­pared to as­sume full con­trol of Afghanistan’s se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity. While the Afghan government backs the de­ci­sion, it does ac­knowl­edge the in­com­pe­tency of the Afghan na­tional force to main­tain law and or­der thus jeop­ar­diz­ing the coun­try’s fu­ture.

Dur­ing the Se­nate Com­mit­tee meet­ing, Gen. Dun­ford pre­sented an ‘ad­vi­sory role’ pro­posal, which refers to the need for a US con­tin­gent stay­ing in Afghanistan past 2014 to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion and take cor­rec­tive ac­tion.

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