Campbell Backs Long-Term US Presence in Afghanistan

Gen-John Campbell

KABUL – Announcing a long-term commitment to Afghanistan will be a better option for the United States in the given circumstances, America’s outgoing military says.

Gen John Campbell, commander of the Resolute Support mission, believes such a step would keep the Taliban, who are hedging their bets on the US troop withdrawal, under pressure.

“It sends a message to Pakistan, it sends a message to Taliban, and it sends a message to NATO,” the top general told the House Armed Services Committee, according to a transcript of his testimony, released by the Department of Defense.

On the verge of completes his 18-month deployment, he argued a long-term commitment would boost the confidence to the Afghan government, people and security forces.

He warned a US pullout would let the enemy simply wait them out. A long-term commitment… is the way we need to move forward to enable the Afghans to have a predictability and stability.”

If the US cut its military presence from 9,800 to 5,500 troops, its capacity to support Afghan forces would be drastically reduced, the commander reasoned.

About militant safe havens, he said such hideouts exited on both sides of the Durand Line. Pakistan and Afghanistan, therefore, had to together to address the issue, he added.

“They’ve got to talk military-to-military on how they can get after a common enemy that knows no border, knows no boundaries,” Campbell said, stressing improved coordination.

“Afghanistan is at an inflection point,” he told congressmen, acknowledging the war-devastated nation was yet to achieve an enduring level of stability that justified a cut in support.

Asked if he would support pursuing terrorists into Pakistan, the general replied he could no talk about the rules of engagement in an open forum. A better option than sending troops into Pakistan would be to train Afghan forces to fight the rebels.  (Pajhwok)

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