Small Wars Journal

Marine Commander Says Rapid Drawdown in Afghanistan Premature

Tue, 08/21/2018 - 6:37pm

Marine Commander Says Rapid Drawdown in Afghanistan Premature by Shawn Snow – Marine Corps Times

The commanding general of a 300 Marine task force in Helmand, Afghanistan, described the rapid drawdown of U.S forces in Afghanistan under the Obama administration premature.

The comments from Brig. Gen. Benjamin Watson, the commanding general of Task Force Southwest, came in an interview with Forces Network.

“From a military perspective we left absolutely too soon,” Watson said in the interview. “We left Afghan security forces with more than they could handle, and I think we saw the catastrophic results over the next year or two.”

The small adviser force of 300 Marines known as Task Force Southwest is now in its second iteration in the war-torn region. And after over a year of advising and supporting Afghan forces, the fledgling Afghan army is on the mend in the volatile Helmand province.

Afghan forces “lost significant territory,” after the U.S. departure from the region, Watson said in the interview.

By spring of 2017 — just as Task Force Southwest was gearing up for the Corps’ first return to Helmand since 2014 — the capital of Helmand province, Lashkar Gah, was “on the verge of falling to the Taliban,” Watson added…

Read on.