NATO Leaders See Security Gains in Western Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2010 — Some parts of west­ern Afghanistan could begin tran­si­tion­ing secu­ri­ty to Afghan forces with­in six to nine months, the top NATO force com­man­der in the region said today.

Ital­ian army Brig. Gen. Clau­dio Berto, com­man­der of the Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force’s Region­al Com­mand-West in Afghanistan, and his deputy chief of staff, Ital­ian air force Col. Vito Cra­cas, briefed Pen­ta­gon reporters in a video news con­fer­ence from their head­quar­ters in Afghanistan. 

The 7,000 NATO troops in the region, which include about 2,000 Amer­i­cans, are part­nered with close to 12,000 Afghan sol­diers and police. Cra­co said dis­tricts in Her­at province could tran­si­tion with­in 6 to 9 months, while dis­tricts in oth­er provinces could begin tran­si­tion­ing secu­ri­ty respon­si­bil­i­ties in 1 to 2 years. 

“With our best forces, we are able to keep con­trol [of] the sit­u­a­tion,” Berto said. “I would say that it is not so bad. From a diplo­mat­ic point of view, …we are head­ing to real­ly good results.” 

The Tal­iban, Berto said, do not con­trol any por­tions of west­ern Afghanistan. There are no per­ma­nent Tal­iban bases in the region, but some areas do have heavy Tal­iban influ­ence, he added. 

Berto said these areas are main­ly in the south along the bor­der with Hel­mand province. West­ern Afghanistan is trou­bled most­ly with crim­i­nal ele­ments, he explained. The “real” Tal­iban and “ide­o­log­i­cal” threat, he said, is in the south. 

Vio­lence has increased, some­what, in parts of the west, Berto said, but that’s because there are more NATO troops. More troops on the ground, he said, means there is more oppor­tu­ni­ty to encounter the enemy. 

Also, ene­my tac­tics have shift­ed to most­ly road­side bombs, he said, as opposed to small-arms and rock­et-pro­pelled grenade attacks that were more com­mon this time last year. 

Still, Berto, as well as ISAF lead­ers in Kab­ul, Cra­cas said, are look­ing at sev­er­al areas in west­ern Afghanistan to begin tran­si­tion­ing secu­ri­ty respon­si­bil­i­ties to Afghan forces. 

“I would say that here in the West we have all these real­i­ties,” Cra­cas said. “So rough­ly speak­ing, I can say there are some dis­tricts in Her­at province that they would be able to start tran­si­tion­ing in the next six to nine months, maybe, and then, of course, for the rest we’ll need to wait until 12 to 24 months. 

“But of course,” he con­tin­ued, “there are also oth­er areas that we don’t fore­see tran­si­tion­ing being pos­si­ble with­in [a] two year period.” 

Cra­cas also under­scored Berto’s ini­tia­tive in orga­niz­ing a work­ing group that brings mil­i­tary, civil­ian and local lead­ers togeth­er to pri­or­i­tize and stream­line their devel­op­ment efforts. 

“There is a lot of very good col­lab­o­ra­tion between the civil­ians and the mil­i­tary coun­ter­parts,” he said. “The tran­si­tion is immi­nent in some parts of our area, because we must start to hand over to the civil­ians the orga­ni­za­tions of the gov­ern­ment and all the devel­op­ment aspects.” 

Ulti­mate­ly, secu­ri­ty must be estab­lished with Afghans lead­ing that effort in order for a tran­si­tion to ful­ly take place, Cra­cas said. 

“We are here to help them achieve this,” he said. “There is no devel­op­ment with­out secu­ri­ty. Our job is to set con­di­tions so that the Afghan peo­ple benefit.” 

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 →