Speaking today at a Senate confirmation hearing for his nomination to become the next leader of Central Command (CENTCOM), Gen. Lloyd Austin expressed opposition to any plans to reduce the size of the Afghan military.
At present the Afghan military has around 350,000 fighters, but its effectiveness is limited by a large number of inept recruits and the regular loss of large portions of recruits who simply leave after getting a paycheck.
The 350,000 soldiers is an enormous expense, far more than the Afghan government could ever hope to pay for, and the plan is to reduce its size to limit how much the US and the rest of NATO are on the hook going forward.
Austin insists the huge military is a “hedge against any Taliban mischief” and that keeping it that large would “reassure our NATO allies that we remain committed.”
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