Taliban Have ‘Utterly Failed’ to Regain Ground, General Says

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2011 — The Tal­iban have failed to deliv­er on their promis­es to recap­ture pop­u­la­tion cen­ters secured by NATO forces in Afghanistan, the Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Command’s chief plan­ner told Pen­ta­gon reporters today.

“I’ve seen it as a bit of a con­test or strug­gle … for the key pop­u­la­tion areas here in Afghanistan, espe­cial­ly Kab­ul, Kan­da­har, [and the] cen­tral Hel­mand Riv­er val­ley,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Krause of the Aus­tralian army, ISAF Joint Command’s deputy chief of staff.

“I’d prob­a­bly also include in the north and west, Her­at and Mazar‑e Sharif and the Kun­duz-Bagh­lan cor­ri­dor,” he added.

ISAF has every inten­tion of retain­ing the areas it has secured, with a spe­cif­ic empha­sis on the south, Krause said.

“We [want­ed to] ensure that the insur­gents did not re-occu­py these areas, or push the Afghan secu­ri­ty forces out,” he said. “The insur­gents, par­tic­u­lar­ly the Afghan Tal­iban, for their part, said they would … retake those cities.”

Krause eval­u­at­ed the out­come of a Tal­iban offen­sive in those areas.

“We still hold all of those pop­u­la­tion cen­ters, and we’ve done so since we secured them,” he said. “The Tal­iban have not been suc­cess­ful.”

Improve­ments in secu­ri­ty in those key areas have been “real­ly quite remark­able,” Krause said, with attacks down 80 per­cent. ISAF troops recent­ly inter­cept­ed a trans­mis­sion from the Tal­iban that admit­ted that their offen­sive to regain ter­ri­to­ry had “ ‘utter­ly failed,’ ” he said.

“This is pret­ty sig­nif­i­cant,” he said. “We’ve seen the insur­gency cede the ini­tia­tive to us. We know this because ene­my-ini­ti­at­ed attacks are down in every region now, except Region­al Com­mand East.”

Although insur­gents’ fight­ing sea­son may seem to be com­ing to a close, Krause said, ISAF will con­tin­ue its oper­a­tions.

“We fight all year round,” he said. “And over this win­ter, we will remain on the offen­sive and dri­ve home our ini­tia­tive. We will con­tin­ue to retain what we’ve fought so hard to hold, and we’ll expand in some places.”

Afghan secu­ri­ty forces, cur­rent­ly 305,000 strong, will con­tin­ue devel­op­ing their capa­bil­i­ties, he said.

“Our intent is that if there is the tra­di­tion­al cyclic pat­tern, a return of the insur­gency next year, that they will face not the coali­tion, but the Afghan secu­ri­ty force in the lead, who will be able to demon­strate their abil­i­ty to retain key cen­ters and expand their influ­ence,” Krause said.

Despite many suc­cess­es, the gen­er­al envi­sions crit­i­cal times ahead as oper­a­tions con­tin­ue and Afghan secu­ri­ty forces con­tin­ue their tran­si­tion into the lead.

“Now, I expect that there’ll be tough days ahead, and I don’t think we can be com­pla­cent, nor are we com­pla­cent, or think that we’re near the end,” he said. “This was nev­er going to be easy, and I expect that there will be set­backs and some bad days ahead.”

But the trends still are pos­i­tive, the gen­er­al said.

“I work on a dai­ly basis with the Afghans and their plan­ners,” he said. “I have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to get out and see the coun­try. I’m sens­ing that the Afghan peo­ple sense that they have the ini­tia­tive. They do have con­fi­dence in the future.

“Now, they are born skep­tics,” he added. “They’ve been let down before. But their chil­dren are going to school. They are health­i­er, and they have a brighter future.”

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

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →