War on Terrorism

Monday, September 03, 2012

ISAF Deputy: Operations Continue, Relations Remain Strong

From an International Security Assistance Force News Release

KABUL, Afghanistan – Suspension of training for about 1,000 recruits in the Afghan Local Police program while officials re-vet 16,300 Afghans providing security in remote areas of Afghanistan has no operational impact for Afghan police and other security forces, the International Security Assistance Force’s deputy commander said today.

In a written statement, Lt. Gen. Adrian J. Bradshaw of the British army called the suspension a precautionary measure taken in response to concerns by Afghan, U.S. and other coalition commanders over recent insider attacks by gunmen in Afghan uniforms against coalition personnel.

“However, it is stressed that effective ALP operations are continuing to deliver significant results against the insurgency and that the working relationships between ALP, U.S. and other coalition partners continue to be strong,” Bradshaw said. Some 8,000 commandos and 3,000 Afghan army special operations forces “continue with their normal and highly effective operational activity,” he added.

The vetting status of all Afghan commandos and special operations forces also is being checked, but this has no impact on current operations, the general said.

“The measures being applied to [Afghan army] special forces and [Afghan Local Police] personnel reflects the intensive effort to recheck the vetting status of the some 350,000 [Afghan security forces] personnel as part of a number of actions recently instituted to reinforce existing precautions related to the insider threat,” he said. “Much of this re-vetting task has already been completed, and numbers of individuals, where vetting status has been found to be in doubt, have been suspended pending further investigation, or removed from the force.”

Senior ISAF and Afghan security forces commanders and Afghan security ministers attended a conference yesterday chaired by Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, ISAF commander, “to develop joint solutions to add to the already intensive effort to protect all of our soldiers, Afghan and coalition, from the insider threat, noting that Afghan and ISAF alike have suffered,” Bradshaw said.

Participants in the meeting noted that the campaign continues to move forward, with the insurgents under constant pressure and resorting to ever more desperate measures, such as improvised explosive devices and suicide bombings, while the Afghan forces grow stronger and more confident day by day, the general said. “We expressed confidence that the [Afghan forces] will be more than capable of taking over full responsibility for Afghanistan’s security in 2014, and will thereafter enjoy strong international support,” he added.

The synergy between the Afghan government and military and the coalition already has resulted in several concrete measures to defeat the insider threat, Bradshaw said, noting several new initiatives being implemented:

-- Improvements to the vetting process for new recruits;

-- Increasing the number of counterintelligence teams;

-- Introduction of interview procedures for Afghan soldiers returning from leave;

-- A new warning and reporting system for insider threats;

-- Enhanced intelligence exchange between Afghan security forces and ISAF;

-- Establishment of an anonymous reporting system;

-- Improved training for counterintelligence agents;

-- Establishment of a joint investigation commission when insider threats occur; and

-- Enhanced cultural training that includes visits to coalition home training centers by Afghan cultural and religious affairs advisors, which were authorized by Afghan President Hamid Karzai this morning.

Bradshaw said that on behalf of Allen, who was away from the capital, he attended a meeting this morning of the Afghan government’s National Security Council chaired by Karzai. At the meeting, he said, he presented the ISAF views on tackling the insider threat alongside Afghan security ministers and commanders. Karzai reaffirmed his strong support for the extensive measures being taken, Bradshaw said, and impressed upon his ministers and commanders “his absolute determination that we should work together to eradicate this pernicious threat.”

“During the meeting, the nature of the strong and enduring partnership that the coalition and Afghan colleagues enjoy was recognized by all,” Bradshaw said, “as was the fact that this common threat is serving to bring us ever closer together in our working relationship as we seek to protect the thousands of Afghan and coalition men and women in our combined force, wherever they may be serving in this theater."

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