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Decision on troop presence soon: Dempsey

Decision on troop presence soon: Dempsey

May 15, 2014 - 11:00

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The United States is on the verge of a decision on an enduring presence in Afghanistaninfo-icon post 2014, a top military leader said on Wednesday.

“I just came back from Afghanistan. And as you know, we're on the verge of a decision about our enduring presence as part    of the NATOinfo-icon Resolute Support Mission,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Gen. Martin Dempsey told the Atlantic Council the decision had to account for NATO's great contribution over the last 13 years. In other words, not just the United States, but NATO has to come out of it feeling as though the contribution was meaningful.

At another news conference in North Carolina, over the weekend, Dempsey said: “What we're really trying to decide, frankly, is should we remain engaged regionally within Afghanistan?  Kabulinfo-icon and Bagram are kind of the centre.”

He believed could do additional good and benefit the Afghans in all four corners of the country so that the central government, with US support, could manage the national security forces more broadly. 

“But then there is an option to look at something more limited, which might be limited to Kabul and Bagram, where you would do mostly institutional-level support, OK? “ Dempsey said in response to a question.

Noting that things were changing in Afghanistan, he said the recent election was quite remarkable, both in terms of voter turnout and the ability of Afghan forces to manage the levels of violence.  

“I just came back and we were all very pleasantly surprised by the performance. We are trying now to determine how that will inform our decision about what we need to do with them beyond 2014,” he added.  

“At this point, our recommendation to the president and to the National Security Council has been that Afghan security forces require us to continue to engage them at the regional level.  But that's not a decision that's locked or etched in stone,” Dempsey said.


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