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Old 06-08-2021, 02:10 PM
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Question DoD Readies Counterterror Plan For Post Afghanistan Withdrawal

DoD Readies Counterterror Plan For Post Afghanistan Withdrawal
By: Theresa Hitchens - Breaking Defense.com - 06-08-21
Re: https://breakingdefense.com/2021/06/...ing+Defense%29

"Our budget accounts for 'over the horizon' requirements -- it creates some space there as we determine what that will look like," DepSec Kathleen Hicks said.

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon will provide President Biden with options this summer for “over the horizon” capabilities to protect the US from terrorist attacks after US troops withdraw from Afghanistan, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said today.

“We’re working through all of that right now. The secretary and the chairman and the CENTCOM commander, among others, are looking at exactly what that idealized capability is,” she told the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). “We have to take into account, regional aspects and allied approaches.”

The 2022 budget request, Hicks said, takes into account the fact that there will be a need to fund other sorts of counterterrorism activities in the absence of US forces in Afghanistan. “Our budget accounts for over the horizon requirements — it creates some space there as we determine what that will look like,” she said.

Biden has promised to end what many call the “forever war” in Afghanistan, with a pullout of all US troops — as well as defense industry support personnel — by Sept. 11. There are some 2,500 US troops stationed there, along with another 7,500 troops from NATO nations (all will leave.)

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told lawmakers on May 27 that the withdrawal currently is slightly ahead of schedule.

The plan has been met with some trepidation by US military leaders. Central Command chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie told the House Armed Services Committee in April that stopping Al Qaeda from striking the United States from outside Afghanistan — “over the horizon” — will be “extremely difficult” but “not impossible.”

The plan, Hicks said, is not to replicate the US presence in Afghanistan. “It’s not an ‘over the horizon’ capability to do all things, you know, to operate as the United States was operating in Afghanistan, but outside of it,” she aid. “It is rather to take the approach we do in most parts of the world with regard to counterterrorism, which is to ensure that we have sufficient strategic warning and ability to prevent threats from coming and reaching Americans who are at home.”

She added that DoD also will craft a plan for “a separate over the horizon capability for providing assistance support that we do to the Afghan national security forces.”

Austin said in April the US would continue to fund the Afghan Air Force and its Special Mission Wing, and that the US and its allies will continue to fund the Afghan Security Forces, according to a DoD press release.

Indeed, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who was in town to discuss Afghanistan plans with Biden, confirmed to the Atlantic Council yesterday that NATO would continue to provide funds to the Afghan military and to train troops — although the details remain sketchy.

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Personal note: Even though all the nation's have vacated Afghanistan - they still seem to be feeling the pains of little success after so many years being there! Not wanting to make it look like we are no longer interested in their security issues - NATO is considering some plan to ensure the Taliban is kept in check and the people of Afghanistan can have a secure life other than have their families suffer mass killings by the Taliban. Even after 20 years there we've put a little dent in the Taliban and it's highly unlikely they are going to stay on their side of the Afghanistan. We can foresee many missal exchanges in the very near future. I give Afghanistan a 50/50 chance of survival without external support.
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