Lt. Gen. Jacobson upbeat about Afghan forces
KABUL (Pajhwok): Outgoing Resolute Support deputy commander in Kabul Lt. Gen. Carsten Jacobson on Wednesday said the Afghan forces had now become professional and had the ability to emerge successful from the ongoing fighting season.
Jacobson is a German Army officer who became deputy commander of ISAF in Afghanistan in 2014 of the alliance Resolute Support Mission which is to train, assist and advice Afghan forces after the end of the combat mission.
The former NATO spokesman is due to depart next month and return to his home country.
To a question from this scribe, Jacobson said the Afghan forces fought well in the ongoing fighting season. “The Afghan forces are well trained and well equipped and have become professional and they will emerge successful from the fighting season.”
The deputy commander said Afghan national security forces had conducted successful operations over the past few months, when they reached for the first time some areas where they had not reached in the past.
Referring to the Operation Zulfikar in southern Helmand province, Lt. Gen. Jacobson said it was the first successful offensive that the Afghans planned and carried out on their own.
Besides other achievements, he said, the operation had resulted in detecting thousands of landmines, a rare example seen in the past. “The Afghan forces have complete ability to protect their country and people.”
To another question about the conflict heading to the north, Jacobson said the insurgents targeted areas where they expected more gains and successes.
But the Afghan forces proved their worth in northern Kunduz province, where they not only pushed back attacks but also cleansed many areas of rebels, he said.,
He said the insurgents started moving to the north after facing unprecedented humiliation in southern Helmand, Ghazni and Zabul provinces.
About the cut in number of security posts by the Afghanistan National Security Council, Jacobson said the move had proved beneficial in a number of provinces. He said Afghan national security forces should be in offensive mode not defensive.
To a question about the latest uptick in rebel attacks, the NATO official said no change had been witnessed in the way the Taliban carried out their attacks.
“Their past and present attacks are the same. The Taliban would target civilians and security personnel in the past and they do so in the present, but we have to see for how long they continue such attacks.”
Jacobson said the Taliban continued to use their old tactics of planting landmines and carrying out suicide attacks and were not applying any new techniques.
To a question about support to the Afghan forces when in need, he said their combat mission had ended and most of their focus was on training and advising Afghan security forces.
“In the time of need, we assist the Afghan forces in planning operations, we share intelligence with them and give them advice.”
About criticism from Afghan lawmakers of the security deals with the US and NATO, Jacobson said the deals were aimed at granting legal cover to foreign troops to stay in Afghanistan and train and assist Afghan forces.
He said NATO was committed to long-term cooperation with Afghanistan and the ongoing training operation involved troops from 42 countries and 30 countries had pledged cooperation to the future mission.
The deputy commander said their overall effort was to train Afghan forces until they stood on their own feet.
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