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US troop levels in Afghanistan being reassessed: Gen. Dunford

US troop levels in Afghanistan being reassessed: Gen. Dunford

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Mar 01, 2016 - 13:45

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The number of US troops to be kept in Afghanistaninfo-icon in 2017 is being reassessed, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Monday.

The review of troop levels would be based on the needs of Afghan security forces, Gen. Joseph Dunford told a Pentagon news conference.

Afghan security forces needed more assistance last year than anticipated, he said. "Many of the assumptions we made in 2013 didn't obtain."

In 2013, Gen. Dunford recalled, the Pentagon had assumed a certain progression by the Afghans, a ministerial capacity, core capabilities, the intelligence enterprise and special operations.

"The aviation capability is not developing as fast as we would've wanted it to," the top military officer said, recalling many of the Afghan forces were had been focused on supporting two major elections and a difficult political transition.

A discussionof troopnumbers that would be needed was premature at this stage, Dunford remarked, saying recommendations in this regard would be benchmarked on lessons learned in 2015.

"One is, I mean, the Afghan forces at the end of the day, were resilient, but they still do have those capability gaps that have been identified and we are certainly looking at that right now...” he said.

Gen. John Campbell, who is due to turn over the Resolute Support mission command this week, was praised for his 18 months leadership under very difficult conditions.

“We are fortunate to have had him during this critical period of transition, and also recognise his sacrifice of his family as well, who have been without him for the last 18 months,” the chairman said.

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