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US-Afghan Agreement Reaffirms Likely Special Operations Forces Presence Beyond 2014

Posted May 1, 2012 by Howard Altman

Updated May 1, 2012 at 10:01 PM

Given that MacDill Air Force Base houses the combatant command responsible for maintaining global Special Operations Forces (SOCCOM) and the command in charge of special operations in the Central Command AOR (SOCCENT), I just read over the “Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement” between the U .S. and Afghanistan with an eye toward the future beyond 2014 and, in particular, Special Operations Forces.

The agreement, signed by U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai during Obama’s surprise whirlwind trip to Afghanistan on the first anniversary of the demise of UBL, seems to indicate a continued presence of special operations forces beyond 2014, the date when NATO is turning the security keys over to the Afghans.

“Beyond 2014, the United States shall seek funds, on a yearly basis, to support the training, equipping, advising and sustaining of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), so that Afghanistan can independently secure and defend itself against internal and external threats and help ensure that terrorists never again encroach on Afghan soil and threaten Afghanistan, the region and the world.”

Training, equipping and advising usually falls under the Foreign Internal Defense category of what special operations forces do as part of their non-kinetic missions.

That squares with what one special operations commander told me about what the future of special operations in Afghanistan might look like. You can read more about that in an interview that comes out in the Tampa Tribune on Sunday.

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