The planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan will hurt efforts to train Afghan forces, the top NATO military commander in the war-torn country said on February 4.
U.S. Army General John Campbell, who is near the end of his tour in Afghanistan and is expected to retire, said plans to draw the U.S. presence of 9,800 troops down to 5,500 would leave "very limited" capacity to support local forces.
"To continue to build on the Afghan security forces...we'd have to make some adjustments to that number," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Committee chairman John McCain said the reductions would not leave enough troops to train Afghan soldiers as well as perform counterterrorism operations.
Campbell said much will depend on how quickly the Afghan forces improve. If they don't, he said, the number of American troops will most likely need to increase.
Campbell acknowledged that publicly revealing the troop cuts could allow the enemy to "wait us out."
The committee on February 4 approved Campbell's replacement, Army Lieutenant General John Nicholson, and he was later confirmed by the full Senate.