President Barack Obama has stood by his commitment to remove U.S. Troops from Afghanistan by announcing withdrawal by 2016. The removal of U.S. Troops will bring finality to the military’s assistance in training and assisting the Afghanistan army, as well as allow them the opportunity to be in complete control of their country’s security. However, President Ashraf Ghani has moved to plead with President Obama to reconsider the withdrawal of U.S. troops, and to re-examine the impact it could have if the Islamic State moves to insert itself into Afghanistan’s boundaries.
President Ashraf Ghani is not concerned that the United States has removed a combat presence from within the country, according to CNN. However, he is concerned that the nearly 10,000 support troops will not be available to assist in training or urgent issues that might arise. President Ashraf Ghani states that he is willing to sign a security deal with the United States, a deal that his predecessor President Hamid Karzai would not do. Despite taking his pleas to “60 Minutes,” President Obama has not made the move to reconsider the withdrawal. Ashraf Ghani feels the progress has been quite successful, but would prefer to have additional support during the transitional time.
“Deadlines concentrate the mind. But deadlines should not be dogmas. If both parties, or, in this case, multiple partners, have done their best to achieve the objectives and progress is very real, then there should be willingness to re-examine a deadline.”
President Ashraf Ghani stated that he has not made his request to President Obama directly, instead stating that, “President Obama knows me. We don’t need to tell each other.”
Currently, there are 13,500 soldiers within the International Security Assistance Force, nearly 11,000 of which are American, according to Fox News. The Afghanistan Army stands proud at nearly 350,000 members and has become quite a powerful force. However, President Ashraf Ghani is aware that there are worries that the Afghan troops are plagued with moral issues, a slight lack of discipline, as well as a lack of competence when facing opposing forces such as the Taliban. Because of the fears he has about Taliban movement into Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani is worried that his troops might succumb to the pressure without continued American support.
General John Campbell feels that President Ashraf Ghani’s fears are unwarranted and that Afghan security forces are more than capable and willing to hold back such an insurgent on their own.
“This is not Iraq. I don’t see [Islamic State] coming into Afghanistan like they did into Iraq. The Afghan Security Forces would not allow that.”
[Photo Courtesy: L.A. Times]