Insurgents weaken while Afghan forces grow in strength, numbers
Insurgent attacks have made headlines this week, but International Security Assistance Forces and NATO spokesmen stated insurgents are losing capability and solidifying Afghan and coalition forces’ upper hand as the beginning of the transition approaches.
Transition will begin in July and Afghan National Security Forces, or ANSF, have executed several successful missions partnered with International Security Assistance Forces, or ISAF, demonstrating their readiness to take on a larger role, said German Army Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, ISAF spokesman, at a press conference held in Kabul today.
“We are confident in a complete transition by 2014,” said Dominic Medley, NATO senior civilian representative.
The Afghan and coalition forces continued to suppress the insurgents this past week with multiple seizures of drug caches, which insurgents use as a source of funding their attacks, said Blotz.
One seizure consisted of 1,650 pounds of wet opium and 24,000 pounds of chemicals used to produce narcotics.
“This will have a significant impact on insurgent finances and ability to carry out operations,” said Blotz.
Insurgents’ momentum has also been halted and reversed in many locations in Afghanistan. This may be due to the increased presence of ANSF.
ANSF forces currently total 297,000, just 8,000 less than the October 2011 target of 305,000.
“NATO fully expects them to reach their goal well before October,” said Medley.
Afghan Special Forces also total 11,000, which is 4,000 more than last year.
In addition to the increased numbers, the spokesmen concurred that progress has also been made in training and combat experience for the ANSF.
“In July, Afghans will take security lead in seven districts and provinces, representing 25 percent of the population,” said Medley. “That is a significant start to transition.”
Article by Air Force Staff Sgt. Stacey Haga, ISAF Headquarters Public Affairs