Supporting Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) that are sufficient to the task of securing Afghanistan and financially sustainable by the Afghan government and the international community is the foundation of NATO’s transition strategy. A sufficient and sustainable ANSF will help guarantee that our hard-fought gains in Afghanistan will be preserved and is necessary for the stability and security of Afghanistan going forward. At the Chicago Summit, Afghanistan, the United States, NATO Allies, and ISAF partners announced an agreed vision for the ANSF and committed to providing adequate funding for this force.
This plan calls for the ANSF to achieve a surge strength of 352,000 by the end of 2013 and remain at that size for two full years, through the end of 2015, to allow continued progress toward a secure environment in Afghanistan. We anticipate that an improving security environment would then allow for a carefully planned, conditions-based drawdown to an enduring force over another two years, concluding at the end of 2017. The preliminary model for a future total ANSF size, defined by the international community and the Afghan Government, envisages a force of 228,500 with an estimated annual budget of $4.1 billion. We will continue to work closely with the Government of Afghanistan and our Allies and Partners to evaluate conditions on the ground and the ANSF plan, making adjustments as needed.
The Afghan government pledged to provide at least $500 million a year for the ANSF beginning in 2015, progressively increasing this amount over time and making it the second largest financial contributor for its own security forces. Given Afghanistan’s current economic and fiscal constraints, NATO, ISAF, and other donors agreed to provide significant additional funding. These commitments send a powerful signal to the Afghan people and the region that Afghanistan will be able to maintain its own security after the transition and that the international community will support these efforts.
Helping to fund the ANSF after ISAF finishes transitioning security responsibility to Afghan forces is the best way to protect the investment we all have made to strengthen Afghanistan in support of the Afghan people and to ensure that it will never again become a safe haven for those who threaten international peace and security.