Post-2014 mission: 16,000 troops suggested
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): A former Pentagon official on Tuesday recommended a presence of minimum of 10,000 US troops and another 6,000 from NATO countries post 2014, saying anything less would be unhelpful in achieving American goals in the country.
"I believe a total force of around 16,000 ... is the minimum that's necessary to carry out those dual goals of having capability to carry out counterterrorism operations and train, advise and assist the Afghan army," he said.
David Sedney, the deputy assistant secretary for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, said a Congressional hearing that a smaller number would purely be a self- defense force, which would not accomplish anything.
Michael Sheehan, who was coordinator for counterterrorism from 1998 to 2000 at the State Department, endorsed the suggestion.
He told lawmakers: "I would agree with that number...My concern is if we go below that, the CIA will have to withdraw even further back and that we're going to lose our insight into the FATA..."
Sedney said the US strategy in Afghanistan was to conduct kinetic and direct action strikes against the organisations that directly threatened its personnel.
According to him, the long debate over the last two years about whether there should be a zero option in Afghanistan had led to improved morale for al-Qaida and others. It had led states such as Pakistan to hedge their policies against the possibility of a zero option in the United States.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.