U.S. President Barack Obama said that America’s combat mission in Afghanistan will be over by the end of this year, and that beginning in 2015, Afghans will be fully responsible for securing their country. The Heat explores how they might fare.
There were 130,000 soldiers from the U.S. and NATO allies at the peak of foreign troop deployment in Afghanistan. By the end of this year, fewer than 10 percent of them, about 12,000, will remain in training and advisory roles only. At the start of 2015, that number will decrease to 9,800, Obama said.
By the end of 2016, U.S. military presence is planned to go down to normal embassy levels in Kabul, with a security assistance component.
The withdrawal is really happening. The soldiers are demolishing multiple facilities and blowing up stockpiled ammunitions, worrying the Afghans would not be able to maintain such large bases. The last of U.S. Marines and British troops left Helmand Province late last month after formally handing over control of Camps Leatherneck and Bastion to the Afghan army.
But is Afghanistan ready? The Taliban may have been beaten back, but it was not destroyed. This year alone more than 4,600 Afghan soldiers and police have been killed in combat. That’s a 6.5 percent jump over last year, according to the U.S. military.
Some say the spike in deaths is in line with Afghan security forces taking over the lead in security operations against the Taliban, but U.S. military officials said the casualty rate is unsustainably high and must be brought down. They’re calling for improvements in field medicine and medical evacuations.
Is Afghanistan better or worse off after 13 years war? The Heat hosted a panel of experts to discuss the country’s future:
- Haroun Mir, a leading political strategist from Kabul.
- Peter Galbraith, a former U.N. deputy special representative for Afghanistan.
- Tony Shaffer, the former senior U.S. intelligence officer.
The Heat explores the future of Afghanistan after major US withdrawlU.S. President Barack Obama said that America’s combat mission in Afghanistan will be over by the end of this year, and that beginning in 2015, Afghans will be fully responsible for securing their country. The Heat explores how they might fare.
The panel continues.