US Commander in Afghanistan Wants ‘Flexibility’ for Troop Levels

Likely to Further Defer Drawdowns Through Summer

General John Campbell, the US commander for the ongoing Afghan War, today told Senators he had issued a handful of different “options” for the White House to consider regarding troop drawdown plans that were supposed to have been in place for over a year.

Gen. Campbell emphasized “flexibility” in the comments to the Armed Services Committee, saying that he wanted to have the ability to shift troop levels and locations around as necessary through next summer’s fighting season.

Campbell’s comments come at the same time Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is reported to be pushing for the drawdown to be slowed dramatically, if not stopped outright, to give Afghan forces support for a longer time.

Given this, it’s likely that any “flexibility” offered will ultimately just mean slowing the drawdown markedly through the summer, and likely looking for excuses next winter to defer any more drawdowns once again, since predictions that the following year will be better never seem to hold true.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of