KABUL (MEP) – The Pentagon in its twice-a-year report to Congress on Tuesday said that “substantial” long-term military support will be needed to ensure that Afghans can hold off the Taliban insurgency.
Pentagon officials also ruled out offering “zero option” for the number of troops that would remain in Afghanistan after the U.S. combat mission ends by the end of 2014.
According to U.S. officials the mostly option is a residual training force of roughly 9,000 troops, however the White has not ruled out leaving not troops beyond 2014.
The report which was produced to brief US congress on war progress further added that the military of Afghanistan will require a lot more training, advising and foreign financial aid after the American and NATO combat mission ends.
Peter Lavoy, the Pentagon’s top Afghan policy official said that number of options for the presence of troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 has been developed. “In none of these cases have we developed an option that is zero,” Lavoy quoted by Huffington Post said.
The “zero option” was reportedly considered by President Barack Obama following growing frustrations in his dealings with the Afghan president Hamid Karzai.
However, Zero is considered an unlikely choice by President Barack Obama, not least because his administration has pledged to stand with the Afghans for the long term.
There are also fears that the US administration will be left with no option other than zero if the two nations fail to finalize the bilateral security agreement, which gives a legal basis for U.S. to keep troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014.