Summit a milestone for Afghanistan: Allen
WASHINGTON (PAN): The just-concluded NATO summit in Chicago was a milestone for Afghanistan as the international community not only firmed up its troops withdrawal plan, but also pledged its long-term commitment to the country, America’s top general said Wednesday.
“I left the summit heartened by the overwhelming international commitment to Afghanistan through 2014 and beyond and in particular the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF),” Gen. John Allen, the Kabul-based NATO forces commander, told a Pentagon press conference.
“I believe the summit sent three unmistakable messages to the world -- to the Afghan people, that we are committed to your future, to the region, the international community will not abandon Afghanistan and to the Taliban, you cannot wait us out,” he said.
Among other important outcomes of this event was the resounding commitment by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) partner nations for the long-term support for the Afghan forces – to ensure it is capable and sustainable in the post-2014 period, he said.
Further it was noted at the summit that the ISAF commander would assess the operational conditions, the capability of the Afghan national security forces periodically. “Right now we are planning every six months, so that we can adapt our plan ultimately for the final size and structure of the ANSF in the post-2014 period as conditions require,” he said.
Noting that during the last 12 months, the Afghan security forces have expanded from 276,000 to 340,000, and they would reach their full surge strength ahead of the scheduled deadline in October, Allen said Afghan forces are increasingly in the lead throughout the battle space.
And, the Afghans forces were in the lead for the planning of this year's campaign plan Operation Naweed (Hope).
Allen said the recent announcement of tranche three of transition is a significant milestone. The coming transition of every provincial capital and the Afghan national security forces providing security lead for three-quarters of the population marks an ever-increasing authority of the capability of the Afghan government and the ANSF.
“As a result of this success, we are able to increasingly reposture our own forces from the conventional formations to advisory teams, which is the logical next step in the counterinsurgency,” he said.
Observing that insurgencies have seldom been defeated by foreign forces and instead they have been ultimately beaten by indigenous or national forces, Allen asserted that transition is the linchpin of the strategy -- ISAF advisers alongside Afghan partners would strengthen security.
Importantly this summit was unambiguous in the commitment for long-term support for the security of Afghanistan and it is the clearest message yet that the Taliban and the enemies of the Afghan people will not win this war, Allen asserted.
“The Afghan national security forces with the unwavering support and the tangible commitments of the 50-nation coalition, grows stronger every day. Additionally the summit was a powerful signal of international support for the Afghan-led process of reconciliation and in this process resides the greatest hope for the Taliban in the future,” he said.
“In the wake of this historic NATO summit, as the Taliban see that their time grows short, they can choose to be part of the prosperous future of Afghanistan, but they can never prevail through the use of violence and intimidation,” Allen said.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.