Security environment to be more challenging after 2014
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The security environment in Afghanistan would become more challenging and the Taliban insurgency emerge a greater threat to stability after the drawdown of most international forces in 2014, a report said on Thursday.
In its report prepared on behalf of the Department of Defense, the Center for Naval Analysis (CAN) said the insurgency had been considerably weakened since the surge of US and NATO forces in 2009, but it remained a threat to the government of Afghanistan.
The coalition’s drawdown would result in a considerable reduction in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations by Afghan, US and NATO forces, it said. History suggests the Taliban will use sanctuaries in Pakistan to regenerate their capabilities.
"In the 2015–2016 timeframe, we assess that the Taliban are likely to try to keep military pressure on the ANSF in rural areas, expand their control and influence in areas vacated by coalition forces, encircle key cities, conduct high-profile attacks in Kabul and other urban areas and gain leverage for reconciliation negotiations,” the report added.
In 2016–2018, once the insurgency has had time to recover from the last several years of US and NATO operations, a larger and more intense military effort will become increasingly likely.
Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said the Department of Defense was reviewing the content of the report. "We are in receipt of the Center for Naval Analysis report, just got it. We're going through it.
"We conclude that a small group of Al Qaeda members, many of whom have intermarried with local clans and forged ties with Afghan and Pakistani insurgents, remains active in the remote valleys of northeastern Afghanistan,” CAN said.
According to the report, in the likely 2015–2018 security environment, the ANSF will require a total security force of about 373,400 personnel to provide basic security for the country and cope with the Taliban insurgency.
CNA said ANSF would continue to have significant gaps in capability that would limit their effectiveness after 2014. "We conclude that proceeding with the drawdown of the ANSF as announced at the Chicago Summit will put the current U.S. policy goal for Afghanistan at risk."
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