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CENTCOM : Based on military progress in the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, U.S. Central Command is undertaking an operational alignment and rebalancing effort to achieve three specific goals, CENTCOM commander Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel told the House Armed Services Committee yesterday.

However, the commander said, “We remain very clear-eyed regarding both the permanence of that progress and the challenges that we face in the future.”

The first goal, he outlined, is to complete major combat operations in Iraq and Syria and bring the campaign to defeat ISIS to a responsible close. Military success in the campaign up to this point presents CENTCOM with an opportunity to re-position some of its resources from Iraq and Syria to Afghanistan, he said, “in a manner that keeps the pressure on ISIS but also sets us up to break the stalemate in Afghanistan.”

“We retain sufficient capability to continue our efforts against ISIS,” he emphasized, “despite the increasingly complex situation across Syria and especially in the northwest province of Afrin.”

AFGHANISTAN STRATEGY

The second goal is to prioritize the implementation of the South Asia strategy in Afghanistan, Votel said. This strategy reaffirms the U.S. government’s enduring commitment to Afghanistan by reinforcing the two complementary military missions: the NATO-led train, advise and assist mission, and the U.S. counterterrorism mission.

“We are making sure that with our support, the Afghan national defense and security forces are well-postured to begin operations to seize the initiative, expand population control and secure credible elections,” the CENTCOM commander said. “Part and parcel of this effort is our regionalized approach to engage all countries with a stake in Afghanistan’s stability, especially Pakistan.”

The third goal is to ensure that CENTCOM has aligned its military efforts with its broader interagency and international efforts to neutralize, counterbalance and shape the destabilizing impact that Iran has across the region, Votel said.  Read more

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