Afghan forces facing tough challenges, not losing ground: Pentagon
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The Afghan national security forces are facing a tough challenge but not losing any ground to its enemies, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.
“We've seen Afghan Security Forces perform admirably in a whole host of situations recently. I would not concede they're losing ground across the country,” the Pentagon press secretary said.
Peter Cooktold a news conference the Afghan forces had demonstrated their skills, capabilities and improvements in a difficult situation and a constant fighting season in the country.
He said the Pentagon was confidentits current strategy would support the Afghan security forces and government so they could take control of their country.
“They are not at that stage yet. So, this is an ongoing effort, one that's constantly under review. The (defense) secretary has spoken recently with President Ghani, with CEO Abdullah. He's confident in the Afghan government and their commitment to moving the security forces forward, making tough decisions there,” he said.
Although the Afghan forces remained in the lead, they still needed support from the United States and other international partners going forward, Cook said, adding Kabul’s allies were doing their part.
One US service member was killed and two others were injured on Tuesdaywhen they came under fire while conducting mission with their Afghan counterparts in the Marjadistrict of Helmand province.
Two HH-60 Pave Hawk Medevac helicopters were sent in to provide assistance. One of those was waived off after taking fire and returned safely to its base, the second landed safely but sustained damage to its rotor blades after it apparently struck a wall.
“This is an ongoing situation, there is still a fight going on in the immediate surroundings. And we'll provide more details as they become available,” he added.
Afghanistan, in particular the Helmand province, was a dangerous place, he said. The US forces were doing what they could to provide support, training, advice and assistance to the Afghans,the official continued.
Cook said the Afghan forces were getting better at defending their country, but they were not at a point yet where they could operate entirely on their own, he remarked.
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