U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta seemed optimistic on Wednesday about plans to transition security to indigenous forces in Afghanistan beginning next year. “Our strategy is right, our strategy is working,” Panetta said after a meeting of NATO defense officials in Brussels. Afghan troop levels, which currently stand at around 337,000, are scheduled to peak at 352,000 in October before gradually falling to 230,000 after 2014. The U.S. estimates it will cost between $4 billion to $6 billion a year to field such an army. “We cannot and we will not abandon Afghanistan,” Panetta added, after indicating the U.S. would provide $4 billion a year to fund Afghan security forces through 2014….
Thu Apr 19 , 2012