Top US commander wants more troops in Afghanistan after 2014
By Sadaf Shinwari - 06 Mar 2013, 10:44 am
General James Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee he believed that properly designing the residual force would be “critical” for a good outcome to America’s longest war.
“I still have one carrier out there, and I would just caution any enemy that might look as an opportunity to take advantage of this situation that that would be very ill-advised if the president orders us into action,” Marine Gen. James Mattis told senators Tuesday.
This comes as former US secretary of defense Leon Panetta during a meeting back in February said up to 12,000 troops could stay behind, but not all of those would be American troops necessarily.
However Marine Gen. James Mattis’s number is potentially higher than what the administration wants to leave in the country as the Afghan government and NATO that the bulk of U.S. and NATO combat forces are to be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
The decision is a delicate one for Obama, who wants to put an end to the war launched after the September 11, 2001, attacks but also ensure that a large enough American force stays behind to provide training support for Afghan forces and launch counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda and its allies.