Friday, January 24, 2014

Troop Levels: White House and Pentagon Differ on Numbers

The Pentagon (and presumably General Dunford) is pushing for the 10,000 troop level for a post-2014 mission in Afghanistan. The Resolute Support mission would only happen if Karzai (or his successor) signs the Bilateral Security Agreement. There are those in the White House (principally Vice President Joe Biden) that say a reduced number is needed. There are two missions that will be conducted in a post-2014 environment. One is the Security Force Assistance (SFA) mission that will advise the Afghan National Army (ANA), Afghan National Police (ANP), Afghan Air Force (AAF), and the ministries. The other will be the counter-terrorist mission that highly-trained special operations forces will conduct against al-Qaeda and certain High Value Targets (HVTs) within the insurgency. The Pentagon says that 10K is the needed troop level number to do both the SFA and counter-terrorism missions and to provide the tactical infrastructure, intelligence assets, MEDEVAC support, force protection, and base operations support. Read more in "Pentagon, White House Are at Odds Over Afghanistan", NPR, January 22, 2014.

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