Eastern Afghanistan Improves, Commander Reports

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2011 — East­ern Afghanistan’s gov­ern­ment and secu­ri­ty forces increas­ing­ly are improv­ing their capa­bil­i­ties and elic­it­ing con­fi­dence in the peo­ple they serve, a U.S. com­man­der in the area said today.

As NATO’s Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force builds on improved secu­ri­ty in the area, provin­cial and dis­trict gov­ern­ment and secu­ri­ty forces are grow­ing in their capa­bil­i­ties and con­fi­dence, Army Maj. Gen. Daniel Allyn, com­man­der of ISAF’s Region­al Com­mand East, said dur­ing a Pen­ta­gon media briefing. 

“Tac­ti­cal­ly, we have kept pres­sure on the insur­gent net­works and cleared sev­er­al sup­port zones and, in the process, strength­ened the lead­er­ship and capa­bil­i­ty of our Afghan part­ners,” Allyn told reporters in a video tele­con­fer­ence from Bagram Air­field, Afghanistan. 

Afghan Nation­al Police demon­strat­ed that progress ear­li­er this month when they led a com­bined mis­sion that dis­trib­uted 160 tons of human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance to res­i­dents of Nuris­tan province. It was an “extreme­ly com­plex” mis­sion and, unlike sim­i­lar pre­vi­ous mis­sions, involved lim­it­ed coali­tion assis­tance, Allyn said. 

Along the Pak­istan bor­der, the com­mand is work­ing to improve com­mu­ni­ca­tion and coor­di­na­tion between Afghan and Pak­istani forces, he said, adding that bor­der forces just com­plet­ed a “very effec­tive” exer­cise to do just that. 

In mis­sions along the bor­der in recent days, Afghan bor­der police seized more than six tons of ammo­ni­um nitrate �- an ille­gal fer­til­iz­er used in home­made explo­sives — being smug­gled into the coun­try from Pak­istan, Allyn said. 

Two east­ern provinces and one cap­i­tal dis­trict have start­ed their tran­si­tion to tak­ing over for coali­tion forces for secu­ri­ty of those areas as part of the U.S. draw­down of forces that began last month, the gen­er­al said. 

The coali­tion part­ner­ship is allow­ing res­i­dents more access to essen­tial ser­vices and, more and more, they are “becom­ing inhos­pitable to insur­gents,” he said. 

The side effect, Allyn said, are the “ruth­less, des­per­ate and inex­plic­a­ble acts of insur­gents” against civilians. 

“Their bla­tant dis­re­gard for the cit­i­zens of Afghanistan” man­i­fests in sui­cide attacks that tar­get inno­cent civil­ians in pop­u­la­tion cen­ters, he said. 

Coali­tion forces “will con­tin­ue to sup­port our part­ners and ensure they meet irre­versible sta­bil­i­ty,” Allyn said. “We will con­tin­ue to press for­ward with our Afghan part­ners to help them achieve a sta­ble future.” 

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

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