Wednesday, March 6, 2013

US general wants 13,600 troops to stay in Afghanistan

US general wants 13,600 troops to stay in Afghanistan: The general overseeing US forces in Afghanistan told senators Tuesday that he recommended keeping 13,600 American troops in the country once NATO withdraws in 2014, even as White House officials have pushed for a smaller presence.
It was the first time a senior military leader had revealed his advice on how many troops should stay in Afghanistan as President Barack Obama's administration carries out an internal debate on the size of a future force after 2014.
At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, General James Mattis, head of US Central Command, was asked by Senator John McCain what he had recommended on future troop levels and he said: "That recommendation is for 13,600 US forces, sir."
And the American troops would be joined by several thousand non-US NATO forces, with "around 50 percent of what we provide," said Mattis, who as Central Command chief presides over troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
His comments confirmed speculation that the military prefers a larger troop presence in Afghanistan after 2014 than some senior White House officials, who have leaked proposals for a follow-on force of 6,000-9,000 boots on the ground.