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Campbell calls for more US role in Afghanistan

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: The US and NATO forces ex-commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John F. Campbell has asked for further role of the US in Afghanistan over what he called slow and inefficient decision-making process. Campbell added that he had pressured “civilian leaders” in the months before he left Kabul earlier this month, did not providing details of the recommendations he made to senior leaders.  However, he suggested the US government to expand its role in advisory mission and take more actions against the Taliban insurgents, seeking to spread attacks against Afghan troops.

“If you want to have pressure, if you want to drive [the Taliban] toward reconciliation … I would believe they need to have more pressure put on them,” Campbell said. “One way to do it would be potentially striking them.”

“Now, I’m not advocating for ‘Let’s go back and be committed to a total war against the Taliban’ … but that is one way to go after them,” he said.

Currently, the United States can conduct air strikes to protect U.S. and allied forces to protect Afghan troops in imminent danger; and to go after the al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. The general declined to provide additional details about the nature of his proposed actions against the group.

Campbell, who spoke to reporters at the Pentagon about his nearly 37 years in the U.S. Army and his tenure as the top American general in Afghanistan, hangs up his uniform as the U.S. military grapples with a sharp deterioration in security across Afghanistan, where Taliban and other militants are seeking to expand gains against local forces.

“There were many times I would say ‘Why are we going over this again – I’ve already laid it out.’” But, Campbell said, “every time I got to President Obama I got the decision I was really looking for.”

“The frustration was just the process we have but … it was kind of good and bad at the same time,” he said. Campbell suggested that his successor, Gen. John “Mick” Nicholson, might take up the case for his pending military recommendations.

“I think sort of the same things I asked for … again I don’t want to speak for him, but I think he’d probably reemphasize those,” he said. “But I want to make sure we can get them done in a timely manner. Otherwise, it’s not going to impact [2016],” he said.

Afghan forces are lacking basic military functions, Campbell said, adding that Afghan forces proved themselves the capable fighting forces desisting have no access to logistic and air power.

The modest US force of 9,800 troops is now assigned to a dual mission, advising local forces and conducting limited counter-terrorism operations. Under a plan announced by President Obama in 2014, that force is due to be reduced to just 5,500 service members by early next year.

Campbell expressed his satisfaction over series of Washington decisions over the past year and half that allowed him to adjust the US mission to reflect both the ongoing weakness of Afghanistan’s military, and the continued strength of the Taliban.

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