In it for the Long Run

Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Thursday said the US support for the Afghan military will last through 2017 and beyond, saying the country is “in this for the long run.” The Afghan military is still a force in development, Carter said, and will need US support. However, the upcoming fighting season will see a much more capable Afghan military, he said, citing increased use of its long-range artillery and the delivery of A-29 Super Tucano close air support aircraft. The Afghan forces will be “stronger [while] completely independent of US participation,” Carter said. This is necessary to face a resurgent Taliban and a growing threat of ISIS in the country, he added. Carter said the current rules of engagement are well thought out and “allows us to do what needs to be done.” However, the US will adjust its plans in the future to better provide support to the Afghan forces, he noted.