Taliban face a capable Afghan force
15 March, 2013
WASHINGTON: A top ISAF commander in Afghanistan has said the Taliban and other terrorists in the country now faced a very capable Afghan security forces (ANSF) who he said were better equipped and trained than ever before.
"This enemy (the Taliban) is challenged with numerous senior leaders fractures, poor financial support, and now faces not only a very capable ANSF, but we have a growing number of Afghan local police, trained, armed and equipped to defend their own villages," said Maj Gen Robert Abrams, ISAF Regional Commander (RC) South.
"In addition, the ANSF are on a glide path to lead and secure approximately 97 percent of the population in RC South this summer, through Milestone 2013, their year to be leading security during the traditional fighting season," Abrams told Pentagon reporters in a live video press conference from Afghanistan.
"The ANSF are better equipped, better trained, and better led than ever before. The contrast of then and now is constantly brought to my attention by my Afghan partners who have witnessed the last three decades of conflict and transition in this country," he said.
Abrams said there has been significant increase in planning capacity with the conduct six core-level operations last year. "They continue to develop an air mobile capacity through the Afghan Kandahar Air Wing that is capable of conducting limited offensive and sustainment operations, and with an intelligence fusion capability, enabled by an extremely broad and deep human intel-gathering network," he said.
"All of these capabilities provide an Afghan sustainable solution to Afghan requirements that are delivered by Afghan hands," he said. For example, there are over 300 counter-IED awareness instructors spread across the Afghan national security forces here, training front-line soldiers and police officers basic action upon observation and location of IEDs. The Afghan forces found and cleared rate has dramatically improved as a result over the last two years to almost 70 percent consistently, he added.
Responding to questions, Abrams said the Afghan air force does have a small, but capable and growing rotary-wing and fixed-wing capability.
"So, for instance, down here in Regional Command South, the Kandahar Air Wing today provides five Mi-17 or Mi-8 helicopters in support of both the 205th Corps and the 215th Corps out in RC Southwest. Now, that does not seem like a lot of rotary-wing capability, and it's not. But it does provide a capability," he noted.