Small Wars Journal

New CENTCOM Head On Afghanistan Mission: ‘I Don’t Know How Long It Will Take’

New CENTCOM Head On Afghanistan Mission: ‘I Don’t Know How Long It Will Take’ by Leo Shane III – Military Times

A day after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Monday called for the international community to help end the war in Afghanistan, the incoming head of U.S. Central Command reluctantly acknowledged to lawmakers on Tuesday that he has no idea when U.S. troops may fully withdraw from Afghanistan.

But he insisted the 17-year conflict remains critical to national security, and that the price in both dollars and American lives is still justified.

“What we are doing is preventing the homeland from being attacked,” said Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., the nominee to lead CENTCOM, in a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. “That’s the clear, tangible effort we can honor (fallen troops) for.”

His comments come on the heels of increased questioning from civilian leaders about the ongoing mission overseas, which topped $45 billion in costs and claimed 14 American lives this year alone. That comes despite coalition forces officially ending combat operations in the country four years ago, and transitioning to a training role…

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