US special forces chiefs seek balanced Afghan drawdown


Military chiefs planning the U.S. troop drawdown in Afghanistan must be careful not to undercut special operations forces by removing too many of the regular units that support them, leaders of the elite service said on Thursday.
Admiral William McRaven, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, told a House of Representatives panel his force was heavily dependent on other military services to provide logistics, intelligence, reconnaissance and other support.
“Consequently, as we look at the drawdown in Afghanistan, … we need to make sure the appropriate infrastructure and enablers remain in place to make SOF (Special Operations Forces) as effective as possible on that battlefield,” McRaven told a House Armed Services subcommittee. Special operators, like those involved in the raid into Pakistan that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, are involved in targeted attacks on the Taliban’s leadership and are likely to be among the last to leave Afghanistan.
McRaven said some 10,000 special operators were stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan — about 85 percent of the number deployed overseas. The remaining 3,000 are stationed in more than 75 countries, helping to develop military capabilities of U.S. partners so they can better deal with their own security.