By Samantha L. Quigley
WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2006 – As NATO forces prepare to take over security operations in portions of Afghanistan, Army Gen. John Abizaid said he's pleased with the progress he sees in regard to the country's security situation. "We're pretty satisfied with the military situation despite the fact that there's been a lot of fighting," the commander of U.S. Central Command told "Fox and Friends" in a telephone interview from Bagram, Afghanistan, yesterday. "There's nothing we can't handle militarily out here, although we're pretty realistic that there's going to be continued fighting."
NATO forces recently took over security operations in the southern part of the country and are doing well, the general said. He added that he looks forward to turning over the eastern sector to NATO forces when the political and military conditions are right. Abizaid said the Taliban is the No. 1 problem in the south, and other groups, some of which are being aided by al-Qaeda, are operating in the east.
"Then you have various other criminal groups that are associated with the drug trade and operating in areas that have not really had much military activity on our part for a while," he said. "Now that the NATO forces have come in, they've allowed us to contest those areas, so there'll be a lot of security activity going on." Abizaid took the opportunity to express his approval of the Afghan National Army, describing it as "developing fairly rapidly."