Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., a senior member of the committee, today welcomed news that NATO defense ministers are poised to reverse an earlier plan to substantially reduce the planned strength of Afghan National Security Forces after 2015.
Meeting in Brussels, NATO defense ministers this week discussed plans to retain an ANSF strength of about 352,000 troops. Previously, plans had been to reduce Afghan forces to about 230,000 after 2015. After a trip to Afghanistan in January, Levin and Reed wrote National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon urging the Obama administration to reconsider the planned reductions.
"I'm confident that we're now on a path to help Afghan forces maintain the capability they need to secure their country after international forces hand over security responsibility," Levin said. "Retaining robust Afghan forces is crucial to making sure Afghanistan does not once again become a safe haven for forces who would attack America and our allies, and to the safety and security of the Afghan people. Today's news is an important step in that direction."
"As we bring U.S. troops home, we need to ensure the hard fought progress we've made in Afghanistan doesn't slip away. Sustaining the Afghan forces so they are in the lead is critical to their nation and our national security," said Reed.