Special Operations Presence Alters Afghanistan Political Landscape

January 25, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman
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"Boots on the ground" work by U.S. special operations forces is producing real results that are weakening the Taliban's reach in Afghanistan, according to the head of the U.S. Navy Special Warfare Command (NSW). Rear Adm. Sean A. Pybus, USN, commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, told the Wednesday plenary address audience at West 2012 in San Diego that the NSW is working in small hamlets to gain the trust of the people-and, it is working. "The Taliban are not happy about this strategy to invest at the village and local level," Adm. Pybus declared. Most of the NSW's 2,100 deployed personnel are in Afghanistan, he said. Their village stability efforts involve helping train local constabulary and fighting the Taliban, who oppose those efforts. Small teams of men and women are on alert around the clock to make this effort work, and their toil is bearing fruit. Adm. Pybus allows that these endeavors will take years to work fully, but the NSW is committed to their success. "If the Afghan government carries out its promises, then this is the strategy that will work in Afghanistan," he stated. "Our hand is extended to shake hands with trust, not with a knife in it."

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