Aghanistan

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
JimWhiteGNV RT @mellinger: After drafting a guy who beat up his pregnant girlfriend, the Chiefs asked for trust. Nope: https://t.co/BcQlpAoPeT
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Serious cred to @jaketapper for keeping the line where it should be as to the idiotic rump human wart asshole that is Ted Cruz.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @armandodkos @BuzzFeedAndrew @NYTimesDowd Yeah, of course not. It never is when it comes to Clinton. It is always roses and champagne. #orBS
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @RMFifthCircuit Um, so the time I spent snow and water skiing is no good?
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @NYDailyNews: Ex-cop gets $108G disability pension while training aspiring cops https://t.co/JJZPak4kRe https://t.co/0CPVwkap62
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz By all means, because she is presumptive Dem nominee, we should blow off all concerns of warmongering as to Clinton https://t.co/XK9CPerotL
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @armandodkos @BuzzFeedAndrew @NYTimesDowd Duh. And, despite the normal Dowd stupid rhetoric, title is spot on about Clintonian warmongering.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @BuzzFeedAndrew @armandodkos @NYTimesDowd Personally, will be glad to reach the point where Anti-Berners quit shitting on own side of party.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @virtualstatman @PogoWasRight Yeah, that noise should be done now.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @PogoWasRight: You knock someone out of the race by hitting them TWICE & all you get is a 10-sec stop and go? Oh wait, it's the RUSSIAN…
5hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @PogoWasRight: How is that not chilled vodka for the podium? C'mon.... @F1onNBCSports #RussianGP #F1
6hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel 5 years after OBL raid the war against him continues unabated.
6hreplyretweetfavorite
May 2016
S M T W T F S
« Apr    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031