KABUL, Afghanistan – An International Security Assistance Force official said today that progress continues is being made in establishing security in southern Afghanistan. German Army Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, ISAF spokesman, acknowledged that that the situation in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar has been difficult. But he stressed that the ISAF and Afghanistan National Security Force are working hard to put a stop to the violence.
“We’ve reached a milestone this week that we believe will improve security in the South, denying insurgents the ability to use Kandahar as a safe haven and point of attack,” said Blotz.
While highlighting the progress made by ISAF and the ANSF, Blotz reiterated the ISAF Commander’s goal to continue with the strategy of ensuring stability in Afghanistan.
“The general (Army Gen. David H. Petraeus) is already very engaged with our civilian and military partners in Afghanistan and the international community and is moving forward with ISAF’s strategy to secure a peaceful and prosperous future for Afghanistan,” said Blotz, adding that Gen. Petraeus, in his initial meetings had provided his guidance to the command and the operations will go on as planned.
Blotz went on to explain that ISAF and ANSF reached a milestone this week to improve the security in the South denying the insurgents the ability to use Kandahar as a safe haven.
“I’m talking about the thirteen checkpoints that make up a developing security systems around the city of Kandahar,” said Blotz. “The system of checkpoints achieved initial operating capability on July 1 and we’re already seeing some initial successes.”
The results have proved successful in keeping the insurgents at bay, he added.
“ISAF and ANSF forces efforts to build up these checkpoints and the other security measures will be done daily,” he said.
As an example of progress, Blotz pointed out that coalition forces recently carried out a very significant and successful operation against the Taliban in southern Helmand Province killing more than 50 insurgents and capturing several more. Additionally, they seized 5700 kilograms of narcotics with a value of 1.15 billion Afghanis.
“These drugs, combined with other seizure[s] earlier this week brought the total amount of illicit narcotics destroyed in Helmand province in the five days to more than 13,000 kilograms,” he said.
While the Taliban regime depends on the revenue of narcotics sales to fund their resources the current operations has decreased that total by 6.16 billion Afghanis.
“Such operations are happening everyday and they’re making a difference as ISAF forces continue and increase their relentless pursuit and destruction of these insurgent networks,” Blotz said. “We are seeing that their actions are becoming increasingly desperate and murderous.”
On Sunday there was an attack where an insurgent rode a bicycle with an improvised explosive device hidden inside into a local bazaar and detonated the explosive resulting in the death of three children and two adults. The blast also wounded four more.
“They were all innocent Afghans,” Blotz said.
With regards to the recent attacks, Blotz emphasized the shamefulness of the acts.
He said the Afghan women and children are the ones suffering at the hands of these insurgents but believes the people understand.
“The Afghans are seeing that the Afghan government and ISAF are working to protect them, while the Taliban and other insurgents are killing, intimidating and offering nothing productive for the future,” Blotz added. “Our forces are working feverishly to address the level of violence we’re all seeing in the South, and we will keep going until the situation improves. General Petraeus has said that we all recognize we are in a battle of wills, and ISAF, partnered with the Government of Afghanistan are in this to win.“
Blotz noted that this is a long term effort, and the Afghan people should understand that we’ll continue this mission.
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases