US to have airbases, special forces in Afghan post 2014:Senator Charles Schumer

Source: Economic Times

U.S. will continue to maintain air bases and special forces in Afghanistan post-2014 to ensure that the Taliban never comes back, a top American Senator said today.

“There will be a follow-on force post-2014 with air bases and special forces units to make sure the Taliban never come back and that NATO will stay past 2014,” Senator Charles Schumer told ABC news.

The US and its partners are planning to withdraw their forces from Afghanistan by 2014, even as the Obama Administration and the Karzai government enter the last phase of negotiations on the Strategic Partnership Document.

The US and Afghanistan are currently negotiating the relationship between the two after the withdrawal in 2014.

“The goal is to withdraw our forces by 2014, put Afghans in the lead, and I hope a strategic partnership agreement between the United States and Afghanistan will stop the narrative we’re leaving,” he said.

Schumer argued that the surge of US forces in Afghanistan have really put the Taliban on the defensive.

“The Afghan army is better trained and better equipped than ever. We can win this thing. We can get it right. I will support the (US) President when he does the right thing. Pulling the surge forces out that General Allen needed in 2012 by September, I think, was a big mistake. Leaving Iraq unattended was a big mistake.

It puts doubts in Iran’s mind that this president really is committed to seeing things through. That’s the problem,” Schumer said.

The New York Senator said the US President has a good plan on Afghanistan.

“It’s a very difficult situation because we have real terrorism that emanated from Afghanistan. The President doesn’t get enough credit. He’s done an amazing job with the drones and al-Qaeda, not just in getting rid of bin Laden, but unlike (former US) President (George) Bush, he said the drones could go across the border in Pakistan and al-Qaeda’s weakened,” he said.

The great weakness in Afghanistan, however, he argued is Hamid Karzai. “Nobody seems to trust him or like him. And the idea of turning it over to the Afghan forces is the right way to go, but that’s a major question mark, Karzai,” he noted.

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