U.S., Afghan Officials to Decide Fate of Outposts in Afghanistan
With U.S. forces coming closer to a 2014 draw-down, officials face the decision of whether to hand over hundreds of outposts, checkpoints, and guard towers to Afghan forces, or simply raze them as troops leave the country.
Currently, U.S. and Afghan officials appear to be at loggerheads over the issue. Hundreds of the outposts have already been handed to Afghan forces, while hundreds of others have been dismantled, and Afghan officials are voicing support for preserving the nearly 200 remaining facilities for Afghan Army use.
The U.S. insists that many of the remaining outposts--like Forward Operating Base Tillman--would "be too challenging to sustain given Afghanistan's limited capabilities" once U.S. troops leave the country.
Because of this, U.S. commanders are concerned that additional outposts they hand to Afghan forces will slowly be overtaken and occupied by insurgent groups.
As of Feb. 1, the U.S. had handed over 376 outposts, checkpoints, etc., while razing or dismantling 243. What remains to be decided is the future of 193 bases, among which are some of the largest U.S. bases in Afghanistan.