Afghanistan Report Shows Security, Governance Gains

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2010 — Progress across Afghanistan remains uneven, with mod­est gains in secu­ri­ty, gov­er­nance and devel­op­ment in key areas, accord­ing to a Defense Depart­ment report sent to Con­gress today.
The con­gres­sion­al­ly man­dat­ed report, sub­mit­ted every 180 days, tracks gov­ern­ment, eco­nom­ic and mil­i­tary activ­i­ty to assess coali­tion suc­cess in reach­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s goal of dis­rupt­ing, dis­man­tling and defeat­ing al-Qai­da in Afghanistan.

A senior Defense Depart­ment offi­cial and a senior State Depart­ment offi­cial briefed reporters on back­ground about today’s report, which cov­ers activ­i­ties in Afghanistan from April 1 to Sept. 30. 

The report cites growth in Afghan secu­ri­ty forces as the “most promis­ing” area of progress, and notes incre­men­tal improve­ment in secu­ri­ty and socio-eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment. The increase in Afghan secu­ri­ty forces “is the key to the tran­si­tion,” the Defense offi­cial said, not­ing that both the Afghan army and police have been ahead of their recruit­ing goals since July. 

As the report points out, Afghan forces still need more lead­ers in their ranks, he said. 

“Build­ing lead­ers take time,” he said, not­ing that senior non­com­mis­sioned offi­cers, cap­tains and majors don’t appear overnight. The report records a 55 per­cent rise over the pre­vi­ous quar­ter in “kinet­ic events,” includ­ing direct and indi­rect fire, sur­face-to-air fire and explod­ed, found or cleared road­side bombs. 

The Defense offi­cial said the Afghanistan strat­e­gy always assumed the increase in coali­tion forces would be fol­lowed by a rise in vio­lence, which the report bears out. The report attrib­ut­es this rise to the increase in coali­tion and Afghan forces and their expan­sion into new areas, a dra­mat­i­cal­ly accel­er­at­ed pace of oper­a­tions and a spike in inci­dents dur­ing the Sep­tem­ber par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, con­sis­tent with pre­vi­ous elections. 

Despite the jump in vio­lence, the report not­ed few­er civil­ian casu­al­ties attrib­ut­able to coali­tion actions than in pre­vi­ous report­ing periods. 

The report also indi­cates the num­ber of Afghans rat­ing their secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion as “bad” is the high­est since the nation­wide sur­vey began in Sep­tem­ber 2008. 

The Afghan public’s dis­sat­is­fac­tion with their lev­el of secu­ri­ty also stems from coali­tion and Afghan forces’ expan­sion into areas they had­n’t pre­vi­ous­ly cleared, the Defense offi­cial said. 

“Two years ago, if you had asked an Afghan in Hel­mand if they were secure, they would­n’t have been hap­py that the Tal­iban were there, but there was­n’t fight­ing going on,” he said. “When we got there, there was a lot of fight­ing going on.” 

The report, which includes data only up to Sept. 30, does­n’t reflect the most cur­rent secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion in Hel­mand and Kan­da­har provinces, he said. “Over the past two months, there has been slow and steady progress in Hel­mand,” he said, “and impor­tant progress in Kandahar.” 

The State Depart­ment offi­cial said civil­ian-led coali­tion efforts to encour­age Afghan gov­er­nance and eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment in Hel­mand and Kan­da­har also show progress. In the end, the ques­tion of what lev­el of local gov­er­nance Afghans want is a ques­tion “Afghans need to decide,” the State Depart­ment offi­cial said. 

The draw­down of com­bat forces set to begin in July, and the 2014 goal to com­plete the secu­ri­ty han­dover to Afghan forces, does­n’t negate the Unit­ed States’ and coalition’s long-term com­mit­ment to Afghanistan, the Defense offi­cial said. 

“We need to cor­rect mis­per­cep­tions about that,” he said. “We have a long-term endur­ing com­mit­ment to Afghanistan.” 

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

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

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 →