The Obama administration is looking at the idea of making a faster switch to an advisory role for the military in Afghanistan. The move could come as soon as next year, well ahead of the 2014 date.
Such a move would transition from the current troop intensive approach to more of a training mission. Scaling back in large numbers the amount of combat troops and using more Special Operation troops to fight alongside Afghans is the idea.
What is the underlying idea? Saving himself from becoming a one term president. Taking attention away from the Occupy Wall Street movement. That’s the idea here. Putting more focus on his so called foreign policy victories is where he hopes to seal the deal for re-election.
The revised approach has been discussed in recent high-level meetings involving top defense and administration officials, according to people involved in the deliberations. No decisions have been made, officials said, and policy makers could consider other options that would adjust the mission in other ways, officials said.
Officials said agreement on a formal shift to an advisory role could come as early as a North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting in May—in the heat of the U.S. presidential election campaign.
Some officials have drawn comparisons to President Barack Obama’s 2009 decision to switch to an “advise and assist” role in Iraq and to declare a formal end to U.S. combat operations there. In Iraq, after mid-2009, troops were largely confined to their bases.
Security conditions in Afghanistan are different, however, and will likely require U.S. troops, particularly Special Operations forces, to continue to accompany their Afghan counterparts into battle after the U.S. takes an advisory role.
Defense officials said the U.S. still would be directly involved in many combat operations, though increasingly with Afghan forces in the lead.