By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2014 – Afghan National Security Forces are prevailing in their battles against the Taliban and other fighters, a senior U.S. commander told reporters from Afghanistan today.
And, Afghan forces are doing well with minimal assistance from the International Security Assistance Force as the end of the U.S.-led NATO mission in Afghanistan nears, Army Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the commander of ISAF’s Joint Command said as he addressed the Pentagon press corps via satellite.
“Throughout the summer, it was a tough fight and the Afghans stood up … and fought well across the board throughout the provinces and the districts,” Milley said. “The Afghan security forces were tactically overmatching anything that the Taliban … or anybody else could throw at them.”
But Milley acknowledged Afghan casualties have increased 50-70 percent during some 3,000-4,000 firefights in recent years.
The U.S. and its NATO allies, Milley said, have shifted gears in Afghanistan since the invasion following the 9/11 attacks. At that time, he said, there were no Afghan police, and only remnants of the Northern Alliance patched together in small units.
“We came into this country … to prevent [it] from ever again being a platform to carry terrorism to the shores of the United States or any other vital national interest,” Milley said.
Antiterrorism efforts in Afghanistan, Milley explained, were intended to stabilize the country and establish a capable Afghan security force.
In the ensuing years, Afghan forces’ leadership, skills and cohesion have continued to improve, Milley said.
“The Afghans stepped up to the fight,” the general said. “Was it perfect? No. Was it pretty? No. But war is not a pretty thing.”