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The 15,000 Troop Option - By James Stavridis | Foreign Policy


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Why 15,000 troops? The post-2014 mission needs to be spread across Afghanistan, with centers in each of the regional commands -- north (Mazar-e-Sharif), west (Herat), south (Kandahar), and east (Bagram). There will have to be smaller centers in some of those regions as well, and a reliable ability to protect our own people and potentially provide some in-extremis support to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). All told, that will require 15,000 troops, still quite low compared with the 130,000 we had on the ground as recently as two years ago. This level would also provide critical mentoring and training in the areas in which the ANSF are still developing -- logistics, intelligence, medical support, close air support, and so forth.

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