Decision on US troop numbers to be based on multiple factors
WASHINGTON (PAN): President Barack Obama’s Afghan policy, in particular a troop presence, would be driven by the situation on the ground, his long-term strategy and suggestions from commanders, the White House said on Tuesday.
A future presence of US troops and strategy in Afghanistan would be determined by a variety of factors, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference in Washington on Tuesday.
“The first is conditions on the ground -- what kind of progress has been made toward securing that country, what threats remain, what sort of assistance can the US provide to the Afghan people, government and the forces as they try to provide for that security,” he said.
The presidential decision would be driven by those conditions on the ground, he said, adding Obama would certainly take into account the recommendations provided by General John Campbell, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Campbell is seeing firsthand the challenges in that country, but the president also will take input from his diplomatic team, intelligence community and the civilian leadership at the Pentagon, as they all offer advice to craft a strategy for moving forward in Afghanistan.
“We’ll also take into account the views and preferences of our NATO allies who have also played an important role in carrying out the missions that I’ve described. So there a variety of factors to take into account here,” the presidential spokesman said.
Obama’s decision on a forward-looking presence would also take into account the relative strengths or weaknesses of the Afghan security forces and the risks that US military personnel were facing in Afghanistan, he added.
“At the same time, the president has urged his team regularly to resist the temptation to make snap decisions based on one or two incidents; what the president wants is a much more strategic look,” Earnest explained.
He insisted Obama would be ultimately making a more strategic decision about the long-term trajectory of US interests in Afghanistan and in the region.
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