As the Obama Administration continues to try to present the “zero option,” ending the Afghan occupation at the end of 2014, as a real thing in the hopes of coaxing better terms out of President Hamid Karzai, the Pentagon seems determined to undercut them by reiterating at every opportunity that it isn’t really an option.
Pentagon officials today offered a report to Congress saying that they had entirely rejected the “zero option” and that they intend to continue to provide “substantial” long-term military support to the Afghan government.
The report centered primarily on “training” and funding for the huge Afghan military, which because of widespread attrition is constantly bursting at the seams with huge numbers of untrained recruits.
It’s clear however that the Pentagon very much envisions military operations continuing into 2015 beyond just throwing money and trainers at the problem. And while the report included its obligatory claims of “progress” on the ground it underscored that vision by reiterating the insurgents’ significant capabilities, also expected to last well beyond 2014.