Soldiers turn in their Stryker vehicles to the Redistribution Property Accountability Team facility at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Afghan partners have limited time to ask for equipment as the US force drawdown accelerates. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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TAMPA, FLA. — Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata, who runs the US special operations mission in the Central Command area of responsibility, is a busy man: Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and other hot spots fall under his purview.
But in some ways the uncertain future force posture in Afghanistan coupled with the massive drawdown currently happening are his most vexing problems.
Because US forces are shipping out so much equipment so quickly, the opportunities to share equipment with Afghan forces are rapidly dwindling as well, Nagata said.
“As we’re pulling material out of Afghanistan, some things that we otherwise might have wanted to provide the Afghan National Security Forces will simply not be available,” he told the crowd here at the SOFIC industry conference.
“There are going to be some things that as time goes on … had we known about this requirement last year we might have been able to provide it to the Afghans but this year we can’t. That’s just a physical reality of the drawdown” he added.
One positive aspect of the withdrawal is that it’s forcing the Afghan security forces to drill down and take a hard look at what capabilities it has and what it thinks it needs before the Americans and their NATO partners pull out.
“Our withdrawal is becoming more and more vivid to our security partners” he said. Afghan commanders and leaders are “coming up to us and asking for help now, because they know that their opportunity to ask for it is dwindling ... the opportunity window is shrinking.” ■