Commander of the US-led forces in Afghanistan General John R. Allen has offered plans that would keep thousands of American troops in the war-torn country after Washington’s planned 2014 withdrawal. Allen has submitted three plans to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta with troop levels ranging between 6,000 and 20,000, the New York Times cited a senior Pentagon official as saying on Wednesday. General Allen’s options reportedly offer US involvement in security issues in Afghanistan and advising Afghan military forces. With 6,000 troops, it is expected that the US mission in Afghanistan would largely rely on Special Operations commandos who would engage in hunting down militants, with limited logistical support and training for Afghan forces.
The 10,000-strong mission is expected to engage in training Afghan security personnel; while with 20,000 troops Washington would add some conventional army forces to patrol in certain areas.US President Barack Obama is supposed to discuss the options with his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, during his visit to the White House next week. The United States, which currently has about 66,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan, led the invasion of the country in 2001, under the pretext of eradicating Taliban forces and bringing stability to the country. However, torn apart by a war that has lasted over a decade, Afghanistan is still dealing with untamed violence, as well as rising insecurity topped by social problems. Meanwhile, the Pentagon, the White House and US generals based in Afghanistan keep providing contradictory information on the composition, tasks and the size of the contingent that would remain in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 deadline. MRS/HMV/SS