Gen. Dunford paints rosy picture of security
“While numerous challenges remain, there are some basic facts that highlight the improved security across the country. Today, almost 8 million children are in school, some 40% of which are girls,” he said.
A decade ago, only nine percent of Afghans had access to basic health care, but currently 85 percent could reach medical facilities within an hour, the commander added.
With life expectancy steadily rising and women holding more than 25 percent of seats in parliament, there were only 10,000 fixed phone lines, he said. Today there are over 17 million people using cell phones.
“ISAF’s analysis indicates that 80% of the enemy attacks are occurring in areas where less than 20% of the Afghan population lives.” More than 40% of the attacks were occurring in 10 districts of Helmand and Kandahar provinces, he continued.
“As the traditional fighting season begins, the insurgency will confront a combined ANSF and Afghanistan Local Police (ALP) force of over 350,000 personnel who are in the lead for security in areas containing over 87 percent of Afghanistan’s population,” Dunford said.
According to the commander, Afghan forces are leading 80 percent of all conventional operations. He cited surveys that reflected the ANSF were becoming a source of pride for the Afghan people.
Since Afghan soldiers and police were of the Afghan people, the insurgency could no longer use the justification that it was fighting foreign occupiers, the US general argued.
“The coalition and the good people of Afghanistan won’t be satisfied until there is a secure, stable Afghanistan at peace with its neighbors. Despite the remaining challenges, the progress toward that goal is indisputable,” he concluded.
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