American Forces Press Service
Feb. 9, 2009 - NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe returned from the 45th Munich Security Conference, which concluded yesterday, encouraged by Afghanistan discussions. "I think the strategy review that is currently underway by the United States is going to be helpful," U.S. Army Gen. Bantz J. Craddock said. "Conditions constantly change, so the key to success is continual assessment and revision of strategy."
NATO's strategy -- a "comprehensive approach" to clear areas of enemy activity, hold those security gains and to build up areas once they're safe – will benefit from 20,000 additional troops scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan.
"We have never had the forces needed to hold an area after it's been cleared," Craddock said. "With additional forces, we'll now be in a better position to gain the best effects from our strategy. When you have the ability to hold and build, you see things change."
But though the additional troops will help, Craddock said, the Afghan National Army continues to grow and develop at a rate that is outpacing NATO's ability to provide trainers and mentors.
"We are short more than a dozen training teams today," he said. "We'll be short more than 30 by the end of the year if we can't generate more. This is our most pressing need, as it holds the key to our strategy – the ability of the Afghans to provide for their own security."
(From a Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe news release.)