US weighs 10 000 troops in Afghanistan, or none

2014-01-22 22:15
Two burqa-clad Afghan women walk on the outskirts of Herat. (Aref Karimi, AFP)

Two burqa-clad Afghan women walk on the outskirts of Herat. (Aref Karimi, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Military leaders have proposed keeping 10 000 troops in Afghanistan after Nato's combat mission ends in December - or else pull out all American forces, a US official said on Wednesday.

The commander of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, General Joseph Dunford, presented the option last week to the White House, which is weighing the proposal, the official said, confirming reports in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

"It's fair to say that the intelligence community, the State Department, the Pentagon, all believe that if we're going to have a footprint in Afghanistan after 2014, it should be about that number," said the official, referring to the 10 000 troop level.

"If that can't be, we also believe it would be most prudent to have nothing," the official told AFP, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The option being debated by the White House also calls for a short stay for the proposed post-2014 force, which would be scaled back and withdrawn within two years, the official said.

Such a scenario would allow Obama to tout the end of the longest US war by the time he leaves office in January 2017. But the move could prompt accusations of an irresponsible retreat after repeated vows by Washington to maintain an enduring presence in Afghanistan.

Any future force after December still hinges on Afghan President Hamid Karzai signing a bilateral security agreement between the two countries, which lays out a legal framework for a US military presence beyond 2014. Karzai has so far refused to sign the deal.

The proposed security pact with Afghanistan would allow for US troops to stay through 2024.

Under the Pentagon proposal, US commanders hope the 10 000 US troops would be joined by 2 000 - 3 000 forces from other Nato countries, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Military commanders have reportedly told the White House that if Obama rejects the 10 000 troop option, then all American forces should be withdrawn as a smaller force would be unable to provide security for intelligence officers and diplomats.

Vice President Joe Biden, known for his long-running opposition to a large military presence in Afghanistan, is believed to favour a contingent of less than 10 000, comprised mainly of special operations forces.

But defence officials maintain that the elite special forces would be mostly ineffective without intelligence teams tracking militants to be targeted, according the Journal and the Times.

"To have an intelligence network, you have to have a footprint, and to have a footprint, you have to have force protection," an unnamed US official was quoted as saying by the Journal.

The discussions echo a debate in 2009 on Afghanistan that pitted Biden and some White House officials against the Pentagon, which favoured a surge of troops to break a stalemate with the Taliban insurgency.

The troop figures put forward by the Pentagon are in line with numbers previously cited by top commanders nearly a year ago, in which they estimated an international force of about 8 000 to 12 000 - most of them Americans - after the end of 2014.

About 37 500 US troops are currently on the ground in Afghanistan, along with 19 000 forces from other countries in the Nato-led coalition.

Read more on:    us  |  afghanistan
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Africa: Land of Billionaires!

Find out who are the richest of the richest in Africa!

 
 

Men24.com

Best bro movies 2014
Every man should be able to do these three things
Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!
Hottie of the day: Jesselyn

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Hot festive offers at kalahari.com!

Hurry! Stocks are limited. Don’t miss out. Shop Now!

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may feel divided. Conflict between mind and emotions can create tension or indecision. This could lead to stressful feelings...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.