SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE STATEMENT OF GENERAL DAVID H. PETRAEUS, U.S. ARMY, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND BEFORE THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE ON THE AFGHANISTAN-PAKISTAN STRATEGIC REVIEW AND THE POSTURE OF U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
We spent much of the past year working to get the “inputs” right in Afghanistan:
With the “inputs” largely in place, we are now starting to see the first of the “outputs.” Indeed, the recent offensive in central Helmand Province represented the first operation of the overall civil-military campaign plan developed by ISAF and its civilian partners, together with Afghan civilian and security force leaders.
Central to progress in Afghanistan will be developing the Afghan National Security Forces, an effort made possible by your sustained support of the Afghan Security Forces Fund. Expansion of Afghanistan’s security forces is now underway in earnest in the wake of the Afghan and international community decision to authorize an additional 100,000 Afghan security force members between now and the fall of 2011. This effort is facilitated considerably by the recent establishment of the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, led by LTG Bill Caldwell. And ISAF member nations are now working hard to field the additional trainers, mentors, partner elements, and transition teams to enable the considerably augmented partnering, training, and recruiting that are essential to the way ahead in this important area.
The civil-military campaign on which we have embarked in Afghanistan will unfold over the next 18 months. And, as many of us have observed, the going is likely to get harder before it gets easier. As we seek to expand security for the people and to take from the Taliban control of key areas, the enemy will fight back. Moreover, we are not likely to see the kind of dramatic reduction in violence that we saw about 6 months into the surge in Iraq – in part because the levels of violence in Afghanistan are nowhere near those of Iraq at the height of the sectarian violence, though they clearly are at levels that make progress in certain areas very difficult. In any event, 2010 will be a difficult year, a year that will see progress and a reversal of the Taliban momentum in important areas, but also a year in which there will be tough fighting and periodic setbacks.
Learn more about Afghanistan
Key Leaders: Afghanistan
CIA World Factbook: Afghanistan
U.S. Embassy Kabul - Website
U.S. Embassy Kabul - Facebook Page