Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Afghanistan as White House officials announced that in the absence of a signed post-2014 bilateral security agreement, President Barack Obama has directed the Pentagon to ensure that it has adequate plans in place to accomplish an orderly withdrawal should the United States not keep any troops in the country beyond the end of the year.
Dempsey told reporters traveling with him that he recommended the U.S. military begin the planning process.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai appears unlikely to sign the bilateral security agreement he negotiated with the United States last year. The agreement would put in place the legal authority for American troops to continue serving in the country under Operation Resolute Support, the follow-on operation, in 2015. Story
By both NATO and Afghan accounts, the past year "has been surprisingly positive" for the Afghan national security forces, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told reporters traveling with him to Afghanistan that both NATO and Afghan leaders underestimated the abilities of the Afghan security forces -- forces that didn't really exist a few years ago. Story
The U.S. military has some fiscal constraints, but it is not a military in decline as some critics suggest, said Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Story