United States military commander wants flexibility with troops in Afghanistan. General John Campbell wants more freedom to be able to choose when he pulls troops out of the country and where he can reposition them.
On Thursday, the top United States military commander asked senators for more flexibility when I comes to his own troops in Afghanistan. He provided very few details when testifying his request before the Armed Services Committee in the Senate. He did tell the public however, that he provided the leaders with multiple options to allow him to continue to train and assist Afghan forces proficiently.
This upcoming summer is expected to be the most intense fighting season of the year according to the commander. He hopes the Senate will approve his United States military plans for more flexibility in Afghanistan in order to improve this peak-fighting season.
Afghanistan President, Ashraf Ghani, has been trying to slow the withdrawal of United States Afghan forces in order to prolong the assistance being given in preparation for this summer.
Currently, the amount of American troops is scheduled to go down from 10,800 troops to 5,500 troops by the beginning of next year. Quite a few senators have made it clear that they disagree with this plan. Many senators believe that the removal of this many troops is too much too soon.
Senator John McCain has shared his concerns saying that a lack of military presence in the country, especially at this time, “will create a vacuum.” He is also concerned that ungoverned and uncontrolled territory will create a “safe haven for terrorists.”
By keeping more the planned 5,500 troops stationed, Campbell is arguing that he will be able to maintain more control of the country, which will benefit other anti-terrorism missions.
President Barack Obama has not yet publicly approved a change in this draw down despite its popularity with current and past military leaders. He is expected to meet and discuss these options with Ghani in the next few weeks.
Campbell admitted to senators that in order to withdrawal the amount of troops that would follow the plan of an eventual 5,500 number, would require the closing of military facilities as well as moving troops and weapons in different areas.
His primary desire for control of moving troops is because with the current plan, most soldiers would be centrally located in one area rather than spread out across multiple problem areas. Campbell is also concerned with the new rise of ISIS in Afghanistan. He believes that their power will rapidly spread across the country and wants to be prepared militarily.
Due to the recent increase in social media posts from ISIS, Afghani rebels and civilians are learning more and more about the group, possibly being attracted to their intense tactics.
The United States military commander wants more flexibility in Afghanistan because according to him, that is what is necessary to control rebel forces. The Senate and President Obama are still undecided as to what steps they will allow and what options they will have to reject.
Written by Audrey Madden
Photo by – Jade Fulce – License