By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2012 – The International Security Assistance Force has kept tireless pressure on the enemy in Afghanistan, Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, ISAF commander, said today.
“It's been a busy summer for us, and in ways not readily evident to most outside Afghanistan, it's been a highly successful summer,” the top coalition commander told Pentagon reporters in a video teleconference.
“Coalition and Afghan forces have maintained unrelenting pressure on the insurgents, and we have denied and disrupted their operations and have largely pushed them out of the population centers,” he added.
Partnered with Afghan forces, ISAF troops have been able to limit the enemy’s freedom of movement and disrupt their logistics, the general said.
“We've taken scores of their leaders and fighters off the battlefield, and we've systematically separated the insurgents from more and more of the Afghan population,” Allen said. “Insurgent attacks, while still indiscriminate and deadly, are increasingly localized, affecting an ever-shrinking proportion of the Afghan population. The insurgency we face today, while still active, dangerous and capable of inflicting harm, is trying hard to project its strength as its position continues to slowly erode.”
More and more, the general said, Afghan national security forces are leading operations.
“Partnered operations have increasingly been led by Afghan forces, and the insurgency is today confronted by a rapidly transforming and increasingly capable [Afghan national security force], which is bearing a larger share of the burden and a larger share of the sacrifice,” he said.
As fighting continues, Allen said, Afghan security forces leading the fight have suffered the toll of larger casualties.
“As we continue to mourn our own precious and honored dead, we recognize that our Afghan partners are now suffering the preponderance of the friendly casualties,” he said. “Their resilience, reinforced by the commitment of the international community to stand by Afghanistan well after 2014, has sent a powerful and a disheartening signal to the insurgents.
“For the insurgents to prevail, they will have to keep up their increasingly costly fight for at least another decade,” Allen added.
Significant work remains to be done from now until the end of 2014, when Afghan forces will be responsible for their nation’s security, the general said.
“With 28 months left in the ISAF mission, we are forging ahead with the process of transition,” he added. “Ultimately, our goal will not only be achieved by that which will be secured by ISAF forces, but primarily … by Afghan forces. As the Afghans assume full responsibility for the security of their country, our support will continue.”
The effort in Afghanistan is a continuum, Allen said, creating a series of conditions that ultimately will make the country a sovereign state secured by its own national security forces.
“We aim to leave behind a stable Afghanistan, a contributor to the stability and the prosperity of the region, and never again a safe haven for the terrorists,” he said. “That remains our objective, and we're on track to achieve it.”