Afghan Transition Timeline Remains On Track, Official Says

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2012 — An Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force offi­cial charged with lead­ing the tran­si­tion to an Afghan led secu­ri­ty force says the plan is pro­ceed­ing on sched­ule along with the antic­i­pat­ed com­ple­tion of the NATO mis­sion by the end of 2014.

In a brief­ing for Pen­ta­gon reporters via satel­lite from Afghanistan, British Army Brig. Gen. Richard Crip­well ISAF strate­gic tran­si­tion group direc­tor, said “The impor­tance of this process can­not be over­stressed,” not­ing Afghan Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Forces now have respon­si­bil­i­ty for the secu­ri­ty 75 per­cent of the country’s pop­u­la­tion.

“The respon­si­bil­i­ty for lead­ing secu­ri­ty is not one they take light­ly, but it is one that they rel­ish,” he said. “In sim­ple terms, they know what they have to do and they are prov­ing that they can do it every day.”

Dur­ing a NATO sum­mit in Chica­go last month, Afghanistan Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai released details of stage three in a five-stage process to tran­si­tion for­eign forces from a com­bat to a sup­port role while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly groom­ing Afghan secu­ri­ty forces to inde­pen­dent­ly take secu­ri­ty reins.

“As a result of that, every cap­i­tal in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan is now into tran­si­tion,” Crip­well said of the nation’s forces. “Their abil­i­ty to plan and con­duct oper­a­tions is improv­ing all the time and they are now rou­tine.”

Crip­well expressed con­fi­dence that Afghan forces will stay invest­ed in the process as the nation strength­ens its secu­ri­ty and sov­er­eign­ty.

“Brigade oper­a­tion requires a prop­er­ly trained and indeed a resourced force,” the gen­er­al said. “This is very seri­ous sol­dier­ing [and] it’s a sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ment on their part to have come this far in the time that they have.”

The gen­er­al, how­ev­er, did not dis­miss chal­lenges along the way, such as the spate of green on blue inci­dents in which some Afghans have attacked coali­tion mem­bers.

“Any death out here is an absolute tragedy and it is more so when it is caused by Afghan forces,” Crip­well said. “Every sin­gle day, there are tens of thou­sands and more ongo­ing rela­tion­ships between ISAF forces and the Afghans. These attacks are absolute­ly not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the huge … major­i­ty of the Afghan forces and they are as dis­mayed by them as we are.”

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