ICYMI: Inhofe's SASC Q & A with General Campbell
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee (SASC), participated in a SASC committee hearing today titled “The Situation in Afghanistan” with witness Gen. John F. Campbell, Commander of the Resolute Support Mission and United States Forces in Afghanistan. Inhofe’s dialogue with Gen. Campbell highlighted the need to re-examine the Obama administration’s U.S. troop withdrawal plan in Afghanistan.
…In our last hearing you stated the…Afghan Army and National Police have shown that they can win battles on their own over matching insurgence whenever…to challenge. You also estimated that it'd be unlikely that Taliban would be able to over- match them on the battle field in 2015.
How has your -- that estimate changed, or has it?
Sir, I think, again, that this fighting season we knew is going to be very, very tough. I…still believe that the Taliban cannot overtake the government, they will not overthrow the Afghan government. They will continue to challenge the Afghan Security Forces as the Afghan Security Forces continue to grow. They've stretched the Afghan Security Forces, as you look at the map...
... Senator McCain referred to. Those areas up in the north, there are some areas up in Badakhshan and in the far north- east; Faryab, Kunduz, are areas in the past that we have not seen as much insurgent activity.
But, again, they have -- all the enemy has to do is go in and cause terror, fear, and then come back out. May not try to occupy or control, but they're…really trying to stretch, I think, the Afghan Security Forces. Their…main goal continues, I believe, to be Helmand, Kandahar, the heart-land of the Taliban, and so as they pull forces from maybe the south-east to the north, it could make the Afghan's Security Forces vulnerable.
In the south the Afghan Security Forces understand this, they have a campaign plan for this fighting season, they have a campaign plan of what they want to do during the winter in preparation for the next fighting season, so I think they understand this and continue to work to try and improve.
…Has there been a deterioration in the will to fight on their behalf?
Sir, we’ve seen on two occasions here in Kunduz where the police, and probably northern Helmand -- with the police that you had…some members lose that will.
… they were hired and not gone through the requisite training, had been put out very hastily out on the check points, that may not have been supported by other forces and when they took fire, you know, they felt they may not have been supported and…they left, so.
But that is not the majority of the Afghan -- it's far from the majority of the Afghan forces, and I think they continue to learn from that and they've made adjustments.