US to have small footprint in Afghanistan after 2014
WASHINGTON (PAN): Once the United States completed full security transition to Afghan forces by 2014, America would have a much smaller footprint that would focus on training mission and not aimed against any of Afghanistan’s neighbours, an Obama aide said on Wednesday.
Michele Flournoy, co-chair of the National Security Advisory Committee, addressing an audience at the Brookings Institute, dismissed the impression that US forces in Afghanistan would have to deal with the situation in case nuclear-capable Pakistan disintegrated.
Rich Williamson, senior advisor to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on foreign and defense policy, said Pakistan was an enormously difficult issue. “Between the intelligence, the army, the civilians, the religious factions, it is a barely functioning state. They have got nuclear weapons that are extremely dangerous. And there is no simple answer.
“With respect to their tolerance in their western region of Taliban forces, we should look at conditionality for our foreign aid, but that's pretty much what his position has been on Pakistan. So I just want to acknowledge that Michele's description had a lot of merit to it and it's one that Governor Romney understands,” he said.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in a meeting with Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak, praised the Polish military role in Afghanistan. "Panetta hailed Poland's contributions to the fight in Afghanistan, noting a Polish task force in Ghazni province that has played a critical role in helping improve security in that region,” said Pentagon Press Secretary George Little.
The secretary thanked Siemoniak for Poland's commitment to a continuing presence in Afghanistan, including filling requests for security force assistance teams, key to the NATO strategy and security transition to Afghan forces, the official said.
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