News Column

Afghans Worry US Packs Up to Bug Out

March 29, 2013

Alex Pena, Stars and Stripes

On a mountaintop, just outside Forward Operating Base Sweeney, U.S. and Afghan National Army troops held one of their final joint training missions.

The Americans are packing up and leaving, and the Afghans will be left to defend the base themselves.

During the exercise, U.S. troops engaged targets in a simulated mission, and the Afghans followed their lead. The Afghan troops here have performed well so far in engagements with the Taliban, but they fear their lack of resources will hamper their operations in the future.

"We don't need more personnel here," said Maj. Janbaz, operations officer for the Afghan National Army at Forward Operating Base Sweeney -- who does not use his first name. "My personnel have good experience. My problem -- vehicles, air support and stopping IEDs."

"The U.S. team has been helping us for a long time," Janbaz said.

And when asked how long he'd like the U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan -- all combat troops are to leave by the end of 2014 -- he answered, "forever." Then he laughed a little; "maybe just one hundred years."

Source: (c)2013 the Stars and Stripes Distributed by MCT Information Services

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