U.S.

March 24, 2014

U.S. senator wants decision on Afghan troop levels

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ A U.S. senator leading a bipartisan delegation to Afghanistan called on President Barack Obama March 22 to announce a decision on his plans for future troop levels in the country on the assumption a much-delayed security pact eventually will eventually be signed with Kabul.

During a visit to Afghanistan, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., stressed no American forces would remain in the country without a bilateral security agreement, but she also said Obama shouldn’t wait for that to give an idea of what the U.S. presence would look like after the NATO-led combat mission ends at the end of this year.

“I believe that it is time for our president to do this so that the people of Afghanistan understand that we remain committed in Afghanistan,” the New Hampshire Republican said, stressing any post-2014 force would be contingent on the pact being signed. “He can no longer delay this decision.”

Ayotte, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said she also urged Karzai, who has refused to sign the deal, to change his mind. She also criticized the government’s decision to release detainees formerly held by U.S.-led forces and considered dangerous.

The top commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph Dunford, testified at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week that he would feel comfortable with a residual international force of between 8,000 and 12,000 troops if the deal is signed. He said America would provide two-thirds of those troops and would keep an additional few thousand forces in Afghanistan to conduct counterterrorism operations.

But Obama has yet to make a decision on the size of a post-2014 U.S. force in Afghanistan after a 13-year war that has become highly unpopular among the American public.

“I hope our president will announce as soon as possible that – contingent on signing the BSA and contingent on a responsible way of dealing with the detainees that protects both Afghans and Americans and our allies – that we will leave a follow-on force consistent with Gen. Dunford’s recommendations,” she said at a news conference at the U.S. embassy in Kabul. “That is a number that we cannot go below.”

Karzai surprised the international community and many Afghans in December when he ignored the recommendation of an assembly of tribal leaders and other dignitaries to sign it, saying he would leave the final decision to his successor after April 5 elections. Karzai is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term. The three front-runners in a field of nine presidential candidates all have said they would sign the agreement if elected.

“I call on President Karzai to sign the security agreement, but even if he does not we know that every major candidate in your election has committed to signing the bilateral security agreement,” she said.

Ayotte was making her third trip to Afghanistan as part of a delegation with Democrats Sen. Joe Donnelly from Indiana and Rep. Stephen Lynch from Massachusetts.

They also warned the Afghans that the U.S. was ready to completely withdraw if an agreement that provides U.S. legal protection for American troops is not signed.

“We’re running out of time here … We’re going to have to make a decision soon,” Lynch said. “I hope that message goes out not just to Karzai but to the candidates.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Virgin Galactic photograph

NTSB concludes SpaceShipTwo flight test accident investigation

Virgin Galactic photograph WhiteKnightTwo and the first SpaceShipTwo during a captive carry test flight over the Mojave Desert. MOJAVE, Calif.–The National Transportation Safety Board has concluded the investigation of th...
 
 

Headlines July 27, 2015

News: U.S.-Turkey deal aims to create de facto ‘safe zone’ in northwest Syria – Turkey and the United States have agreed on the outlines of a de facto “safe zone” along the Turkey-Syria border under the terms of a deal that is expected to significantly increase the scope and pace of the U.S.-led air war against...
 
 

News Briefs July 27, 2015

Putin OKs maritime code calling for strong Atlantic presence Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a new version of the country’s maritime doctrine that calls for maintaining a strong Russian presence in the Atlantic Ocean amid concerns about NATO expansion. The doctrine, which covers naval, merchant marine and scientific maritime issues, also adds the Antarctic...
 

 
Army photograph by SFC Walter E. van Ochten

U.S., Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria train together at Rapid Trident 2015

Army photograph by SFC Walter E. van Ochten U.S. soldiers, of the 3rd Platoon, 615th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, react as they conduct reacting to contact training as part of their situational trai...
 
 
nasa-astronaut

Astronaut Stephen Frick retires from NASA

Astronaut Stephen Frick has retired from NASA to accept a position in the private sector. Frick, who flew as both a shuttle pilot and commander, left the Agency July 13. Steve has been a great asset to the astronaut office and ...
 
 
Army photograph by Sgt. Juana M. Nesbitt

Estonian, US forces receive new jump wings

Army photograph by Sgt. Juana M. Nesbitt Pvt. Kalmer Simohov, of Parnu, a volunteer with the Estonian Defense League, receives his U.S. Army Airborne wings following the joint airborne operations exercise at a drop zone in Nurm...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>