Lt. Col. Michael Brough's commentary "Afghan Exit Will Be Tricky: The Day U.S. Troops Leave Afghanistan Will Be Their Diciest" (Aug. 20 Perspectives) provides one soldier's insight into the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in 2011. The author, however, does not consider a significant difference between 2011 in Iraq and 2013 in Afghanistan.
While the U.S. mission in Iraq ended when those last convoys rolled across the Kuwaiti border, the mission for North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces will not end at the end of 2014. The International Security Assistance Force will transition to "Resolute Support," in which NATO forces will continue to support the Afghanistan National Security Forces by providing necessary training, advice and assistance.
The nations that contribute troops to the mission are currently adjusting the size of the force and removing excess equipment, but this isn't withdrawal -- this is preparing the force to best accomplish the Resolute Support mission. The details of this Resolute Support force are still being worked out between the NATO nations, but the commitment to the people of Afghanistan is firmly established.
This commitment, most recently reinforced at the Tokyo and Chicago summits last year, pledges that the international community will not abandon the people of Afghanistan. Our troops will continue to train, advise and assist the security forces of Afghanistan as they continue to improve and ensure that we all accomplish what we set out to do when we came here -- to deny terrorists a safe haven in Afghanistan.
COL. CHRISTOPHER GARVER
Public Affairs Officer