DOD: No Decision Yet on Post-2014 US Presence in Afghanistan

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has yet to forward a recommendation to the White House on how many US military personnel should remain in Afghanistan after 2014, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters on Nov. 26. “It’s entirely premature to speculate on troop numbers in Afghanistan between now and the end of 2014 or beyond,” said Little. His comments came following press reports claiming that the United States would maintain some 10,000 troops in Afghanistan for training and counterterrorism activities after NATO’s combat mission there formally concludes at the end of 2014 (see, for example, UK Guardian report). Little said Panetta is scheduled to speak on Nov. 27 with Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, the top US and coalition general in Afghanistan, to discuss a range of matters. “As we’ve made clear on several occasions, any US presence would only be at the invitation of the Afghan government, and aimed at training Afghan forces and targeting the remnants of al Qaeda,” said Little. Ultimately, President Obama will make the call, he added. (AFPS report by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.) (See also Desurged.)