A Wall Street Journal report, meanwhile, said top Obama administration officials want to keep about 10,000 American troops in the country – a midpoint in the range of options that Allen presented to Panetta, which the newspaper said varied from 6,000 to 15,000.
Many observers have said the Afghan government is unlikely to be able to take over logistical operations, air support and other facets of the current war, in addition to the training and counterterrorism missions foreign troops would provide.
As the article pointed out below, a solid number is premature. But you can definitely point to a ‘range’ of what we are looking at in the quote up top.
The other thing to think about with this stuff is the logistics requirements of Afghanistan beyond 2014. We have given the Afghans a military force that requires some serious upkeep, and especially the aviation assets. Couple that with the idea that most Afghans have a poor reading capability (hence cannot read a manual to fix or maintain whatever), that it will take someone with outside expertise to continue to assist. That is where contractors will come in.
I also look at Afghanistan’s means of financially supporting this military as the west exits. Where will the revenue come from to pay salaries and maintain this military and government? So economics plays into this, and I think the west will continue to support Afghanistan well after we are gone. So yet again, with western dollars comes western contractors to support the Afghans.
One final point is Iraq and how that turned out, might be a scenario for Afghanistan. Meaning we purposely depended upon Iraq to use their parliament to come up with a SOFA, knowing full well that parliament would not support immunity of any sorts for US troops in their country. It is a smart political move by the US administration, who wanted fully out of Iraq, because they knew that Iraqi politicians did not want to be known as the leaders that wanted US troops to stay. Some would say we pulled out prematurely in Iraq because of those politics and not because of a logical withdrawal plan–but that is another discussion and only time will tell with that country.
So if we start doing actions that put the full decision of troops staying in Afghanistan, into the hands of Afghans and not just one main leader, then we might see an exodus of troops from Afghanistan much like how Iraq turned out. Just because Afghan politicians do not want to be viewed as the folks that supported foreign occupiers to stay. (May is when a new SOFA is to be decided upon…) Any SOFA that does not have troop immunity in it, is a sure sign that we will be exiting, and contractors will be the only ones left standing–just like in Iraq. -Matt
Pentagon: Discussion of troop numbers remaining in Afghanistan ‘premature’
By CHRIS CARROLL
November 26, 2012
The Pentagon says it plans to tell the White House within weeks how many American troops military leaders believe will be needed in Afghanistan after 2014 to train local forces and continue to target al-Qaida.
With NATO’s formal combat role set to end in just over two years, the United States — along with its NATO allies and the Afghan government — is keen to define a postwar presence well in advance, avoiding the precipitous pullout and security problems that came with the end of the Iraq War.
The troop calculations, however, have to achieve a delicate balance that weighs military capability against the U.S. public’s weariness of continuing conflict – and meets Afghan expectations of the residual force.
The troop strength recommendation will be based on options presented in recent weeks by Marine Gen. John Allen, the NATO commander for the war, to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The final decision has yet to be made, officials said.