Zero option: Pentagon predicts quick hedging activity
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): On the second consecutive day of his testimony before a Congressional hearing, a top Pentagon commander on Thursday insisted the “zero option” would give terrorist organisations an opportunity to regroup.
General Lloyd Austin, Commander of US Central Command, told American lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee without fiscal support mentorship, they would immediately see less-effective Afghan forces. “Over the long term, we could possibly see a fracturing of that force.”
He said the zero option, meaning no American troops on the ground in Afghanistan beyond 2014, would be problematic for Afghanistan and the region.
“I think that what we would see over time, and very quickly, is hedging activity, as each of the countries in that sub region really moves to protect their interests. And that would be somewhat destabilizing for the region as a whole,” he informed.
Senator Carl Levin, in his remarks, said he still believed it was in the US interest to continue supporting Afghanistan's security forces beyond 2014 to preserve the hard-won and impressive gains of the past decade.
“I also believe that we should give up on President Karzai who has proven himself to be an unreliable partner, and instead, we should await his successor's decision on whether to sign a bilateral security agreement,” he said.
Levin was concerned over proposals to reduce the size of the Afghan National Army.
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