U.S. Troops Could Stay in Afghanistan Past 2014, Ambassador

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U.S. Troops Could Stay in Afghanistan Past 2014, Ambassador

Postby shayeyp6shx » 10 Dec 2011, 20:11

Ryan C. Crocker, speaking at a roundtable event with a small group of journalists, said that if the Afghan government wanted American troops to stay longer, the withdrawal could be slowed. “They would have to ask for it,” he said. “I could certainly see us saying, ‘Yeah, makes sense.’” He emphasized, however, that no such decision had been made. “2014 is a long way off, but as you’ve heard me say, heard General Allen say, other commentators say, there is nothing in the Lisbon declaration on 2014 that precludes an international military presence beyond 2014; that is to be determined by the parties, who could be numerous, not just us, as we get closer to that date,” Mr. Crocker said. He was referring to Gen. John Allen, the United States and NATO commander in Afghanistan, and to the NATO summit meeting in Lisbon last year at which Western leaders agreed on a transition of responsibility for security to Afghan forces by 2014. On June 22, President Barack Obama announced that U.S. troop withdrawals would begin in July, ray ban caravan with 10,000 of the roughly 101,000 American troops then in the country to leave by Dec. 31, and 33,000 more to follow by the summer of 2012. Four thousand of the first 10,000 have already left, according to a senior NATO official; in most of those cases, troops who had already been scheduled to leave were not replaced, the official said. “We are on a timeline, as you know; 10,000 out by the end of the year, that is being met. The president has said 23 more by September of 2012, that basically recovers the surge,” Mr. Crocker said, referring to the so-called surge of additional troops that Mr. Obama ordered two years ago. “Beyond that, there are no decisions, the decisions will be made at the highest levels of government, they haven’t been and as far as I’m aware there are no formal recommendations yet,” Mr. Crocker said. Asked specifically whether he meant that the United States would not necessarily withdraw all combat troops by 2014, Mr. Crocker said, “I don’t know what we’re going to be doing in 2014.” An American official said the ambassador’s remarks did not signal any change in policy, and that it had always been envisioned that some troops might remain. In his June speech, President Obama said that after the withdrawal of 33,000 more troops by next summer, “our troops will continue Moncler Bas coming home at a steady pace as Afghan security forces move into the lead. Our mission will change from combat to support. By 2014, this process of transition will be complete, and the Afghan people will be responsible for their own security.” On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that General Allen had been quietly promoting the view that the withdrawals should stop after next year, with the remaining 68,000 soldiers to be kept in Afghanistan through 2013 before cuts are resumed in 2014. The article said he had not formally recommended that course of action, however. Mr. Crocker noted that General Allen had made it clear that trainers and advisors would likely remain after 2014. “Major weapons systems will not reach Afghanistan in some cases — some will, but some won’t arrive until after 2014, so presumably they’re going to be asking for an advise-and-assist mission, as they field operate and learn to maintain these systems,” Mr. Crocker said. “General Allen has said they may ask for certain enablers they won’t be procuring, at least in the near term, cher Tod's chaussures and again depending on what the situation on the ground is.” Mr. Crocker said he did not expect America’s diplomatic presence to be reduced along with the military drawdown. “We went through our own civilian surge that we’re still in the process of completing, although we’re nearly there,” he said. “The decisions get made in Washington, but it’s my intention that we’re going to stay pretty steady as the military does draw down, I think our role will even increase in importance.”
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