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Afghan Military Improves With Self-Determination

May 16, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Letting the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) lead operations against the Taliban has led to some surprising results, said the U.S. Marine Corps general who commands the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The Afghans are surprised at how well they perform under battle when they lead the operation-and so are the ISAF forces who partner with the ANSF under their leadership. Speaking via a video teleconference link from Afghanistan, Gen. John R. Allen, USMC, told the audience at Joint Warfighting 2012 that the ISAF is striving to move the ANSF into the lead in the campaign against the Taliban. This effort is bearing fruit in several ways. According to polls, the Afghan people now have high regard for their army, and it is becoming a key institution for the people. And, Taliban fighters who have given up the fight increasingly are citing opposition by Afghan forces, as opposed to foreigners, as the reason they opted to reintegrate into Afghan society. Gen. Allen noted that about 90 percent of ISAF operations are partnered with the ANSF. A total of 40 percent of those are led by Afghans. All nighttime operations are partnered, he pointed out. The effort to build an effective ANSF is nearing fruition, he noted. The general expects that the ANSF will reach its goal of 352,000 members in a few months.

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