Orderly troop drawdown needs 102 days: Dunford
“The physics of withdrawal will be about 102 days. You'd obviously want to buffer for bad weather, aircraft maintenance issues, enemy gets a vote. And so, as you start getting to less than a 120 days, you start entering a period where your risk of an orderly withdrawal starts to increase. And that's the first of September,” Gen Dunford told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing.
He went on to say that “as we get into September we enter a period of high risk in our ability to actually withdraw all of our people and equipment in an orderly manner by the end of December. And the reason simply is …is about 102 days' worth of work to do based on the force size in September of 2014. So I call it the physics-plus-friction equation.”
“If today I knew that we were going to draw down the force and withdraw all the people and equipment by next December, I wouldn't do much different between now and July. We're stabilizing the force to make sure the Afghans are set up for success and securing the elections, and for the summer of 2014,” he said.
The general said: “In July -- in August we'll be able to maintain both options --- the NATO train, advise, assist mission, or to withdraw all of our equipment and people by the end of 31 December.”
Responding to questions, Dunford said it is critical that US develops an effective relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“From a military campaign perspective, one of the objectives that we have and one of the elements that I describe as what winning looks like is to establish a constructive military-to-military relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
“We've made progress over the past year. I'm more optimistic as I look at the next several months than when I look backwards.”
“And part of that is because, again, the commitment that we have from the new chief of the Army staff, the commitment of the new prime minister of Pakistan, his efforts to reach out to his counterpart in Afghanistan and to the Afghan people, and, frankly, some of the initiatives that have even taken place over the last few weeks.”
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