Report: Taliban Insurgency Likely After U.S., NATO Leave Afghanistan

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 (UPI) — The withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan will likely lead to a surge in Taliban activity in the country, a Pentagon-sponsored review suggests.

The review, conducted by the nonpartisan think tank Center for Naval Analysis on behalf of the Pentagon and released Thursday, found that insurgency in Afghanistan will increase when foreign troops leave the country, despite expectations set at NATO’s May 2012 summit in Chicago, Britain’s The Guardian reported.

The CNA team said it believes the increased Taliban insurgency could require tens of thousands of more troops on the ground, costing billions more than the $4.1 billion NATO planned at the 2012 summit.

CNA advised the United States to keep international military advisers inside the Afghan ministries of defense and interior “at least” until 2018 to help the country mitigate the threat of insurgents.

“Our analysis suggests that the absence of these advisers has the potential to undermine the Afghan National Security Forces’ combat effectiveness over the timeframe of this study, thereby imparting additional risk to the U.S. policy goal for Afghanistan,” the CNA team found.

Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Department Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said U.S. authorities are still in the process of reviewing CNA’s report.

“We are in receipt of the Center for Naval Analysis report, just — just got it. We’re going through it. I would remind you that this was a report we asked for, so we’re grateful for the work and the analysis that went into it. I’m not going to — I’m not prepared to discuss any of the specific findings right now. We’re still working our way through that,” Kirby said.

“But, look, one of the reasons why the alliance is interested in the Resolute Support mission post-2014 is to help improve the capabilities of the Afghan national security forces. It’s a commitment we’ve made long ago. It’s a commitment we’re trying to make now on the ground in Afghanistan to improve their capacity and capability,” Kirby said.

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