Accomplishments in Afghanistan Set Stage for 2012 Progress

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2012 — Almost a month into 2012 — a year both Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panet­ta and Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, the top com­man­der in Afghanistan, called piv­otal to oper­a­tions there — Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force offi­cials said last year’s accom­plish­ments have set the stage for con­tin­ued suc­cess.

“This year offers an oppor­tu­ni­ty to turn a cor­ner,” Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacob­son of the Ger­man army, spokesman for the NATO-led ISAF coali­tion, told reporters dur­ing a Jan. 24 news con­fer­ence in the Afghan cap­i­tal of Kabul. 

“I hope that when we will look back at 2012,” he said, “we will con­tin­ue to see the incred­i­ble progress for the peo­ple of this nation on their path to a well-deserved peace.” 

Panet­ta, dur­ing his pre-hol­i­day vis­it to Afghanistan last month, told deployed troops he believes the effort has reached a turn­ing point and empha­sized the impor­tance of what hap­pens there this year. 

“We’re mov­ing in the right direc­tion,” Panet­ta said dur­ing a vis­it to For­ward Oper­at­ing Base Sha­rana in remote but strate­gi­cal­ly impor­tant Pak­ti­ka province. “And we’re win­ning this very tough con­flict in Afghanistan.” 

Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, NATO’s supreme allied com­man­der for Europe and com­man­der of U.S. Euro­pean Com­mand, said in his blog ear­li­er this month he believes that progress will con­tin­ue by focus­ing on the “keys to security.” 

One of these keys, he said, is a uni­ty of effort, with a goal of achiev­ing a sense of “in togeth­er, out togeth­er” among ISAF’s 50 troop-con­tribut­ing nations. 

“In the mil­i­tary sphere, that means we have to pull togeth­er smooth­ly on the oars as we all down­size the num­ber of coali­tion troops over the com­ing year,” Stavridis said. 

He said he was encour­aged by the long-term com­mit­ment exhib­it­ed by 100 nations and inter­na­tion­al orga­ni­za­tions rep­re­sent­ed at the Bonn Con­fer­ence on Afghanistan in December. 

Stavridis also not­ed con­tin­ued progress dur­ing 2011 in two oth­er key areas: the tran­si­tion to an Afghan secu­ri­ty lead, and con­tin­ued pres­sure on the insurgents. 

Jacob­son report­ed dur­ing this week’s news con­fer­ence that this tra­jec­to­ry is continuing. 

Already, “2012 is off to a very rough start for the insur­gency,” he said. He not­ed that it fol­lows anoth­er “tough year” dur­ing 2011, with the insur­gents los­ing key ground and resources and fail­ing to accom­plish their stat­ed goals in Afghanistan. 

Mean­while, their lead­er­ship “con­tin­ues to hide across the bor­der in Pak­istan,” los­ing much of their abil­i­ty to com­mand and con­trol their troops, Jacob­son said. 

Insur­gent forces in Afghanistan con­tin­ue to use impro­vised explo­sive devices to launch indis­crim­i­nate attacks, he said, despite orders from Mohammed Omar, the Taliban’s spir­i­tu­al leader, to quit harm­ing civilians. 

While acknowl­edg­ing that they still have the abil­i­ty to launch high-vis­i­bil­i­ty attacks, Jacob­son said “these acts of des­per­a­tion should not fool anyone.” 

“I believe the insur­gency is start­ing to under­stand that they can­not con­tin­ue their ter­ror­ist acts of the past against the Afghan peo­ple, and the only clear solu­tion is rein­te­gra­tion into a peace­ful Afghan soci­ety,” he said. 

Jacob­son laud­ed sol­id gains dur­ing 2011 that are lay­ing the foun­da­tion for this momen­tum to continue. 

He cit­ed pos­i­tive trends in terms of offen­sive oper­a­tions against insur­gents, as well as improve­ments in capac­i­ty devel­op­ment with­in the Afghan nation­al secu­ri­ty forces. 

“Our goals were to increase Afghan lead of secu­ri­ty respon­si­bil­i­ties, tar­get key insur­gent lead­ers, retain and expand secure areas and help [Afghan forces] earn the sup­port of the peo­ple through improved secu­ri­ty capac­i­ty and capa­bil­i­ty,” he told reporters. 

Jacob­son cit­ed areas of focus for the year ahead to build on and expand these gains. 

In the east, for exam­ple, ISAF and Afghan nation­al secu­ri­ty forces “will con­tin­ue to apply max­i­mum pres­sure,” he said, to elim­i­nate the Haqqani and oth­er insur­gent net­works and dis­rupt their logis­ti­cal capa­bil­i­ties through the win­ter and into spring. 

This effort sup­ports the vision Allen set for 2012. 

Dur­ing Panetta’s vis­it to Kab­ul in Decem­ber, Allen told reporters he sees this year as a time to con­sol­i­date gains already made in Afghanistan’s north, south and west and to extend them east­ward. This, he said, will include “sig­nif­i­cant coun­terin­sur­gency oper­a­tions” to con­tin­ue this year in the Region­al Com­mand East area, with the goal of push­ing the secu­ri­ty zone east of Kabul. 

Jacob­son said this week that progress also will con­tin­ue in oth­er areas rang­ing from edu­ca­tion to infra­struc­ture to counternarcotics. 

Afghanistan had 175,000 teach­ers in 2011, up from 20,000 in 2012, he report­ed. Eight mil­lion Afghan chil­dren were enrolled in school, com­pared to few­er than 1 mil­lion in 2002. Afghanistan now has more than 6,200 miles of paved roads, with more than 80 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion using them. 

Local secu­ri­ty devel­op­ment is pro­gress­ing, too, Jacob­son report­ed. The Afghan Nation­al Army now is almost 180,000 strong, and the Afghan Nation­al Police now has near­ly 144,000 men and women in uni­form, serv­ing local communities. 

As they grow in num­ber, Afghan nation­al secu­ri­ty forces are assum­ing greater secu­ri­ty respon­si­bil­i­ty. More than 50 per­cent of Afghanistan is slat­ed to be under Afghan secu­ri­ty con­trol by this spring, Jacob­son said, “and we have every expec­ta­tion that this will increase to 66 per­cent in the very near future.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →