Afghan forces increasingly taking the lead: US general
WASHINGTON (PAN): Afghan security forces are increasingly demonstrating their ability to protect people of the country and take a major lead in counter-terrorism operations, a top US army general stationed in Afghanistan said on Wednesday.
“The ANSF (Afghan National Security Force) are improving, and they are increasingly demonstrating their ability to protect the people,” Lt Gen Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of ISAF Joint Command, and deputy commander of US Forces-Afghanistan, told Pentagon correspondents at a news conference here.
“Not only this, Afghans are increasing become confidence in ANSF abilities.” The general cited a recent UNDP report that found 81 percent of Afghan population had respect for police, and 59 percent had access to police stations within 30 minutes of where they live, 42 percent up in 2009, he said.
Kabul, he said, was a great example of where the ANSF have the lead for security, and they've mitigated multiple threats and denied the insurgents' objectives. Recent examples of their success included security for the Loya Jirga, the Ghazi Stadium opening. Both occurred without a major security incident despite credible public enemy threats, he noted.
Of significance, he said, was that the Afghans had developed the operational plan “Op Naweed 1391,” which would guide the combined team operations in 2012 and in 2013.
“Op Naweed was written by the Afghan Ministry of the Interior, Defense and the National Directorate of Security planners, and it was written in Dari by them and then translated into English. And that's a first, and I think it's an important step. The focus of this plan is to enable the Afghans to take the lead and to hold and expand our current security gains,” Scaparrotti said.
In early January 2012, the Afghan defence ministry, in coordination with IJC, began implementation of Operation Naweed, which means "good news" in Dari. Op Naweed will expand on the success of Op Lomed, its predecessor. It will focus both Afghan and coalition forces on deepening the gains we've achieved and expanding them during 2012, said the US Army commander.
“We will continue to ensure security in the major population areas like Kabul, Kandahar, Helmand, Mazar-i-Sharif and Herat, and we'll protect the commerce routes that connect them. In particular, we'll connect Kabul to Kandahar to Lashkarhah, and focus on the improved border security in this coming year,” Scaparrotti said.
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