KABUL, Afghanistan (April 24, 2013) – The following is the ISAF commander, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford’s assessment of the current security situation in Afghanistan:
“While numerous challenges remain, there are some basic facts that highlight the improved security across the country. Today, almost 8 million children are in school, some 40% of which are girls. Under the Taliban, only one million children were in school, almost all of them boys. In 2002, only 9 percent of Afghans had access to basic health care; now 85 percent can reach medical facilities within an hour. Life expectancy is steadily rising. Under the Taliban, there were only 10,000 fixed phone lines, and today there are over 17 million people using cell phones. Daily life for women has also improved as women hold more than 25 percent of the seats in parliament and are represented in small but growing numbers in the army and police.
ISAF’s analysis indicates that 80% of the enemy attacks are occurring in areas where less than 20% of the Afghan population lives. More than 40% of all enemy attacks are occurring in just 10 districts, most of which are in the northern reaches of Helmand Province and western Kandahar Province. Equally important to the insurgency’s decreasing relevancy, the expectations of the Afghan people have changed. Surveys clearly reflect that the Afghan people will simply not tolerate the oppressive policies imposed by the former Taliban Government. In some areas, this sentiment has manifested in anti-Taliban movements.
As the traditional fighting season begins, the insurgency will confront a combined ANSF and Afghanistan Local Police (ALP) force of over 350,000 personnel who are in the lead for security in areas containing over 87 percent of Afghanistan’s population. Afghan forces are leading 80 percent of all conventional operations. Very soon, the ANSF will be responsible for security nationwide. They are steadily gaining in confidence, competence, and commitment.
Surveys also reflect that the ANSF are becoming a source of pride for the Afghan people. Afghan soldiers and police are of the Afghan people. The insurgency can no longer use the justification that it is fighting foreign occupiers – that message rings hollow. Today, Afghans are securing the Afghan people while the Taliban continue to conduct acts of violence that kill and maim innocent Afghan civilians. This will continue to undermine the influence and effectiveness of the insurgency.
The coalition and the good people of Afghanistan won’t be satisfied until there is a secure, stable Afghanistan at peace with its neighbors. Despite the remaining challenges, the progress toward that goal is indisputable.”yment to Bagram. “This mission is turning a whole new page for the people out here.”