- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
- Holiday cheer: Airline grants Christmas wishes for 250 unsuspecting passengers
- U.S. vet held in North Korea says statement was coerced
- NTSB hearing on San Francisco airliner crash postponed
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford insists he has dried out, vows sobriety test
- Greenpeace video warns that climate change is wrecking Santa’s home
Coalition troops are ready to ‘rough it’ while closing Afghan bases
But as the U.S.-led coalition withdraws, life will become more “expeditionary,” meaning troops will begin roughing it with fewer amenities, said the top engineer for U.S. and coalition forces.
“Does that mean we’re going to be with a rucksack and living in a tent, eating MREs three meals a day? No. There’s a gradual transition. Expeditionary standards do have a limit,” said Army Brig. Gen. Michael C. Wehr, referring to meals ready to eat — portable, foil-encased food that does not require cooking.
“I’m being a little bit tongue-in-cheek here, but Wi-Fi is the last thing to get cut,” Gen. Wehr said. “But my point is, there may be two hot meals and one meal ready to eat.”
Coalition officials are engaged in hard discussions over which services to cut and when, in an effort to keep troop morale high while withdrawing from the war responsibly and cost-effectively. Nearly all international combat troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by the end of next year.
The Afghan army and police agencies have been increasingly taking charge of security operations and missions as coalition troops take on support and training roles.
“Today the [Afghan National Security Forces] have about 80 percent of the security operations, and that requires [our] force posture to change,” the general said. “And that includes closing and transferring our own coalition bases. As we step back, the Afghans take the lead.”
Of the coalition’s 800 bases, about 450 have been transferred to Afghan forces and 225 have been closed.
Gen. Wehr said most of the remaining bases will be closed by February and that decisions about the rest of them will be made after officials determine how many troops will stay in Afghanistan after 2014. The coalition currently has more than 100,000 troops, about 66,000 of whom are U.S. service members.
“We’re now up to the larger operational bases that take some more deliberate thought,” Gen. Wehr said of the process of handing over bases to the Afghans. “If we have 110-volt electricity and their standard is 220 volt, we’re not going to leave something that’s dangerous. And we also recognized that because these are temporary structures, they have a shelf life. And if it’s not safe to hand over, we don’t want to do that.”
“There’s some complex sewage systems we don’t want them to try to operate. We will not leave a hazardous problem for future liability.”
Burn pits, where trash is incinerated, and sewage lagoons such as the “Kandahar Poo Pond,” where human waste is disposed, will be closed responsibly and safely, he said.
No date has been set for closing the pond, but “as long as there are people there, there needs to be a place to handle sewage,” said the general, who heads the coalition’s Joint Engineering Directorate.
Gen. Wehr said the coalition does not want to leave behind structures that can’t be secured against thieves and insurgents.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warns Pakistani leaders of U.S. aid losses over drone-strike protests
- Air Force building drone for operations in 'hostile' airspace: Report
- Pentagon plans to destroy Syrian chemical arms on ship at sea
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- PRUDEN: Waiting for Nelson Mandela without the tears
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- Oregon fails to sign up single person on health care website as states struggle
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
News and opinion from a Millennial Urbanite with Southern sensibilities,
Notes from a running nerd: musings and more on all things running.
NFL junkie Eric Golub reports on his favorite obsession. There is no football offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September.
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow