By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 15, 2011 – The Taliban’s momentum has been reversed in most areas of Afghanistan, but the progress achieved there is fragile and reversible, the commander of NATO and U.S. forces said here today.
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee that much dangerous work remains ahead for coalition and Afghan government forces in the country.
“Nonetheless, the hard-fought achievements in 2010 and early 2011 have enabled the joint Afghan-NATO transition board to recommend initiation this spring of transition to Afghan lead in several provinces,” he said. The progress also will factor into his recommendations in drawing down the number of U.S. forces in the country, now at around 100,000, the general added.
The progress, Petraeus said, has put the NATO-led effort on the path to turn over security responsibility for the country to Afghan forces by 2014.
The effort in Afghanistan is more than simply a military campaign, Petraeus told the senators. Support and resources the United States and the 47 other troop-contributing countries have provided has allowed the civil-military campaign to work, he said.
And, Petraeus noted, the Afghans themselves are shouldering an increasingly larger share of the defense burden.
“More than 87,000 additional NATO ISAF troopers and 1,000 additional civilians have been added to the effort in Afghanistan since the beginning of 2009,” the general said. “In Afghanistan, security forces have grown by over 122,000 in that time as well.”...
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