Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

U.S. may need to fill 'gaps' in Afghan forces after 2014

Jun. 18, 2013 - 03:58PM   |  
  • Filed Under

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said the Afghan military may need some operational support beyond the planned end of combat operations there in late 2014.

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford said he is assessing the Afghan forces’ “capability gaps” to determine whether “the gaps are significant enough…for us to consider filling” after 2014.

Pentagon officials recently acknowledged they are considering a so-called “bridging force” to help the Afghans fight the Taliban insurgents beyond December 2014.

The nature of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan remains unclear. Military officials say the U.S. is committed to providing long-term support to the Afghan military in an advisory role at the corps level, but questions remain about the level of tactical or operational support U.S troops may continue to provide beyond 2014.

Dunford, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon through a satellite link from his headquarters in Kabul, said he was not familiar with the term “bridging force,” but the idea is under consideration.

“If what you mean by ‘bridging force’ is that we will provide close-air support, intelligence support, logistics support — those are exactly the areas that I will assess and make a recommendation on come the fall,” Dunford said.

The term “bridging force” first emerged in May in a report co-authored by Dunford’s predecessor, Marine Gen. John Allen, who recently retired.

“I think what Gen. Allen is suggesting is that the Afghans may still need some support" after 2014, Dunford said.

.

There are about 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. President Obama says that will fall to about 34,000 by February 2014. The combat mission will end in December 2014, but the U.S. and NATO plan to continue providing money and some form of military support indefinitely into the future, Obama says.

The White House has not publicly stated how many troops will stay beyond next year nor what their mission will be.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Marine Corps Times

This Week's Marine Corps Times

Big changes in sight
Marksmanship overhaul was a long time coming, say Marines

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook