May 31, 2013

Retired General Calls for Afghan Numbers

District of Columbia

WASHINGTON — The former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan called on the White House on Friday to announce how many troops it intends to leave in that country after 2014.

Retired Gen. John Allen said that for Afghans to choose whether to side with the Afghan government or the Taliban, they need certainty on how many U.S. troops will stay after the majority complete their withdrawal by Dec. 31, 2014.

“If ... taking no position ... has kept you alive,” Afghans will continue to hedge their bets, Allen said.

The Center for a New American Security, a Washington-based think tank, released a report co-authored by Allen that warns the United States and its allies could risk losing any achievements if the drawdown ahead of the December 2014 deadline is accelerated or if the international community skimps on continuing aid to the country after 2014.