The top US commander in Afghanistan says international coalition must show flexibility about their plan to leave Afghanistan, and said they should focus on battlefields there.
General John Campbell, the US and NATO forces commander in Afghanistan on Tuesday told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are growing, but they “cannot handle the fight alone” and the US plan to shrink its troops presence in Afghanistan by the end of 2016 need revising.
“It was envisioned in mid-2014 that we would transition to a normalized Embassy presence by 2017,” Campbell said. “Since that time, much has changed: We’ve seen a rise in Daesh, an increased al-Qaida presence in Afghanistan.”
Campbell expressed concerns about the raise of insurgency in the north of Afghanistan saying there are reasons for that and warned the growth of Islamic State whose fighters are mostly “disenfranchised Taliban” who have “changed tee shirts” in hopes of attracting support.
“Taliban attacking Kunduz province amazed the international coalition, because most of the local leaderships were not in the province at the time of the attack and there was no reinforcement that is why Taliban achieved a victory,” Campbell has said.
About Afghan peace talks Campbell said he has talked with Raheel Sharif, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, saying Pakistan is willing to resume peace talks between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban group.
Reportedly the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has developed as many as five options for a post-2016 presence that range from a small embassy force to as many as 7,000 troops.
Earlier U.S. President Barak Obama has announced that the current force of about 9,800 would stay in Afghanistan into 2016 and he would end the military mission in Afghanistan before he leaves office in 2017.