Afghanistan troop cuts will likely lead to Taliban surge, study warns


Spencer Ackerman
theguardian.com
February 20, 2014

Afghanistan will require tens of thousands more troops costing billions more dollars than Nato envisioned at a fateful 2012 summit, according to a new Pentagon-sponsored review.

The review, released Thursday and conducted by the nonpartisan think tank CNA at the behest of the Pentagon’s policy directorate, found that the Taliban insurgency is likely to swell in the years following the upcoming US and Nato military withdrawal, sharply challenging expectations set at Nato’s May 2012 summit in Chicago. The review also saw widespread deficiencies in Nato’s planning for Afghanistan manpower, logistics, air support and ministerial strength.

The review comes as the US has all but given up on President Hamid Karzai assenting to a residual US military force, complete with basing rights, and passing off agreement on a post-2014 foreign presence to the winner of Afghanistan’s imminent elections.

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