Dempsey: US-Afghan Agreement Possible by Fall

Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Martin Dempsey told Afghan and US reporters in Kabul on Monday that he would not recommend the “zero option” of pulling out all US troops from Afghanistan after the completion of NATO’s combat mission there at the end of 2014. Dempsey, in Afghanistan for meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and senior officials, said he had a “significant level of confidence” in the Afghan security forces, but the Afghans’ progress is “not irreversible,” should US and NATO advising and training support stop. “An interruption in that progress could be a setback for the country,” he said. A follow-on US-Afghan security agreement is critical to continuing the development of the country’s security forces, said Dempsey. The signing of that agreement might be possible by October, putting in place the framework for the post-2014 training, assisting, and advising mission, he said. (AFPS report by Jim Garamone)