At the same time, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said logistically the US can wait till early next year for the BSA to be signed. (Agencies)
"We're not the limiting factor. We wouldn't be to a level where it would begin to affect the options until probably, early summer, so that's not the limiting factor," Dempsey said on Wednesday when asked what is the actual no-turning-back time needed by Pentagon to plan for its post 2014 options in Afghanistan.
"But don't forget that we're not in this alone. We've got 44 troop-contributing nations who have a different set of requirements to make their decisions, and we will see an erosion of coalition. The other thing we'll see is an erosion of confidence by the Afghan Security Forces as they begin to be anxious, literally, about whether we're going to be there to support them," he said.
Dempsey said that the Pentagon has planned for multiple options, but not the zero option.
"We've have planned options that allow us to continue to engage regionally and then other excursions where we might move closer and closer into becoming somewhat institutional based in Kabul-centric. We've got all those options," he said.
"From our perspective, as we look at the BSA, what we need to account for is the freedom of movement for our military personnel. We'll have to be able to move freely in order to accomplish the train, advise and assist task. Secondly, legal protections for those who serve against an Afghan legal system that is best described as nascent and will take some time to mature. And then finally, force protection," Dempsey added.
At the same time, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said logistically the US can wait till early next year for the BSA to be signed.