By Jon Harper
Copyright 2014 Stars and Stripes
WASHINGTON — The authors of an independent, Pentagon-commissioned assessment of the Afghan National Security Forces concluded that current U.S. and NATO plans for the post-2014 ANSF are woefully inadequate to prevent a major deterioration in the Afghanistan security environment.
The study, which was published Thursday, was conducted by CNA, a think tank based in Alexandria, Va. The Defense Department requested the review under Congressional mandate.
Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the Pentagon has received the report and DOD officials are in the process of reviewing it.
“There’s no doubt that the work that CNA has done here will help inform decision-makers as we get close to the end of the year,” Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon.
The CNA analysts issued a dire warning about what will happen in Afghanistan after 2014 if current plans remain in place.
“In the likely 2015-2018 security environment, the ANSF will require a total security force of about 373,300 personnel [including 29,100 Afghan Local Police] in order to provide basic security for the country, and cope with the Taliban insurgency and low-level al-Qaida threat,” according to the report’s authors.
That force level is 44 percent higher than the one agreed upon by political leaders at the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago. Alliance plans call for 258,500 [including 30,000 Afghan Local Police] in that time frame. There are currently 382,000 ANSF.
“Proceeding with the drawdown of the ANSF as announced at the Chicago Summit will put the current U.S. policy goal for Afghanistan at risk,” the report said.