DoD official says U.S. will continue support of Afghan forces after 2014

A senior U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) official told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday that the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) will continue to receive support after 2014.

Kelly E. Magsamen, the acting assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, said that support will come in the form of training for Afghan forces and counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda.

Magsamen noted the progress the ANSF has made and cited the recent presidential elections in Afghanistan as an example where it effectively provided security for a major event.

"The performance of the ANSF during these two rounds [of voting] is a major milestone in our efforts to develop a capable force that is accountable to the Afghan people," Magsamen said. "With minimal coalition assistance, Afghan forces now plan and execute nearly all combat operations, continue to improve their capacity to execute large joint combat operations and demonstrate tactical superiority over insurgents."

The U.S. intends to keep a military presence of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan after 2014 for the follow up of NATO's Resolute Support mission. NATO's mission is intended to advise and assist the ANSF, specifically in the areas of aviation, intelligence and special operations.

The U.S. military commitment in Afghanistan should be limited to a base presence in Kabul by 2016.

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