Levin welcomes NATO plan for stronger force
24 February, 2013
WASHINGTON: Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., a senior member of the committee, welcomed the news Friday that NATO defense ministers are ready to reverse an earlier plan to slash funding for the Afghan National Security Forces after 2015.
NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels this week discussed plans to retain an Afghan National Security Force of about 352,000 troops.
The plan had been to reduce Afghan forces to about 230,000 after 2015, when most U.S. troops will have been returned home.
Levin and Reed wrote to National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon, urging the Obama administration to reconsider the planned reductions after their fact-finding trip to Afghanistan in January.
"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 in a statement Friday.
"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," Levin said.
"As we bring U.S. troops home, we need to ensure the hard-fought progress we've made in Afghanistan doesn't slip away," said Reed. "Sustaining the Afghan forces so they are in the lead is critical to their nation and our national security."