Afghanistan Fact Sheet

Obama Still Clinging to 352,000 Afghan National Security Force Size Myth

Before the outbreak of green on blue killings that eventually led to a significant interruption in the training of Afghan security forces last September, it was impossible to read a statement from the US military or NATO regarding future plans without encountering a reference to a required 352,000 force size for combined Afghan National Security Forces. It was our training of the ANSF that was touted as our primary reason for remaining in Afghanistan because we need those trained troops available to take over security responsibility as we withdraw. I have been insisting since the interruption that it will be impossible to continue to claim that a functional ANSF force size of 352,000 can be achieved, as the known high rate of attrition continued during the training interruption. No new troop size prediction has emerged, but it was significant to me that references to the 352,000 force size claim had seemed to disappear.

Last night, President Barack Obama announced in his State of the Union address that he intends to withdraw about half the troops now in Afghanistan within the next twelve months, but he made no direct reference ANSF force size. Here are the three short paragraphs on Afghanistan in the speech as found in the transcript of his address:

Tonight, we stand united in saluting the troops and civilians who sacrifice every day to protect us.  Because of them, we can say with confidence that America will complete its mission in Afghanistan and achieve our objective of defeating the core of al Qaeda.  (Applause.)

Already, we have brought home 33,000 of our brave servicemen and women.  This spring, our forces will move into a support role, while Afghan security forces take the lead.  Tonight, I can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan.  This drawdown will continue and by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.  (Applause.)

Beyond 2014, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We’re negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions — training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counterterrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.

Despite the specific force numbers cited with respect to US forces, Obama merely mentions “Afghan security forces” without telling us how many of them there will be. Resorting to the more detailed Afghanistan Fact Sheet released last night by the White House, however, shows that Obama still clings to the myth that there are 352,000 members of the ANSF. The Fact Sheet even goes to so far as to claim that this force level will be maintained for the next three years. I don’t believe I have seen this three year claim before: Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @RKTlaw I doubt that, I think they will want to end the issue one way or another, but it is possible.
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bmaz @RKTlaw Heh, at this rate, there may never be a circuit split and they just sit back and let it happen.
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bmaz @RKTlaw Maybe, but there seems to be scant few below that want to go there anymore. It is amazing.
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bmaz The snowball in favor of marriage and LGBT equality in American courts is amazing. Who will the the last judge to endorse the bigotry?
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JimWhiteGNV RT @bmaz: This new state court decision by Judge Zabel deeming FL SSM ban unconstitutional is really something beautiful http://t.co/KrMHDa
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JimWhiteGNV RT @mattduss: Bibi lied. People died. http://t.co/9i85wpDxuy
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bmaz This new state court decision by Judge Zabel deeming FL SSM ban unconstitutional is really something beautiful http://t.co/KrMHDawncQ
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bmaz @AllThingsHLS @gregpmiller In some fairness, most said deals involved traditional cooperation agreements, something not really applic to ES
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bmaz @AllThingsHLS @gregpmiller Yeah, but contrary to govt claim it never happens, Ive cut deals for extraterritorial return before; best option.
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emptywheel Did David Sanger just ignore the French and Israelis, who like China, steal commercial data?
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bmaz .@gregpmiller That's alright, Ledgett was fairly disingenuous about the "offer" in the first place. Never more than press fodder.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @RMardiniICRC: #Gaza: Targeting ambulances, hospitals & medical workers is a serious violation of the law of war. @ICRC http://t.co/ywly
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July 2014
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