NATO claims ’successful year’ in Afghanistan

A spokesman for NATO-led forces said that 2011 had been a ‘remark­ably suc­cess­ful year’ in the fight against insur­gents in Afghanistan and in the devel­op­ment of the Afghan secu­ri­ty forces.

British and Afghan troops wait to board an ISAF heli­copter (stock image) [Pic­ture: PO(Phot) Hamish Burke, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

In the south­ern Tal­iban strong­hold, ‘con­sid­er­able advances’ had been made in secur­ing Kan­da­har City and its envi­rons, said Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force spokesman Brigadier Gen­er­al Carsten Jacobson: 

“The suc­cess has been so great that insur­gents have large­ly lost con­trol of the area and now rely on IEDs [impro­vised explo­sive devices] as their pri­ma­ry method of attack,” he said. 

And in the east, forces had he said: 

“…sig­nif­i­cant­ly dis­rupt­ed the Haqqani Net­work through Oper­a­tions SHAMSHIR and KNIFE EDGE, where coali­tion forces cap­tured or elim­i­nat­ed over 500 insur­gent lead­ers and fight­ers last fall.” 

The Haqqani Net­work has been blamed for a series of high-pro­file attacks in Kab­ul, includ­ing one on the US Embassy in Sep­tem­ber last year. 

The net­work is based in the Afghan-Pak­istan bor­der region, which Brigadier Gen­er­al Jacob­son said would remain a key focus for operations. 

Kab­ul itself had, he said: 

“…become a thriv­ing com­mer­cial cap­i­tal, able to absorb and respond to spec­tac­u­lar attempts to dis­rupt secu­ri­ty with res­olute response to insur­gent attacks, leav­ing the insur­gents large­ly in a state of failure.” 

Brigadier Gen­er­al Jacob­son said Afghan forces were clear­ly in con­trol of the city, as part of a phased tran­si­tion ahead of a pull-out of NATO com­bat troops in 2014. 

His remarks came in stark con­trast to per­cep­tions that secu­ri­ty has wors­ened in the Afghan cap­i­tal over the last 12 months, with a series of spec­tac­u­lar attacks on West­ern tar­gets, such as the US Embassy siege. 

The Afghan Army was now almost 180,000-strong, the Afghan Police has near­ly 144,000 men and women in uni­form, and by spring of this year secu­ri­ty respon­si­bil­i­ty for more than 50 per cent of Afghanistan will be under Afghan con­trol, he said. 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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