KABUL, Afghanistan – Gen. David Petraeus, commander, International Security Force and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan and the designate director of the Central Intelligence Agency spoke to reporters at Camp Eggers regarding the withdraw of U.S. and coalition troops from Afghanistan.
“The decision has been made by the president and our job is to implement the decision over a period of 15 months or so. During this time 33,000 troops will withdraw and at the end of the withdraw there will be 68,000 troops left in country. During this time Afghan forces will grow by 70,000. That is a 50,000 increase for ANP and ANA,” said Petraeus.
Petraeus also said that the reason why coalition troops are in Afghanistan was so that Afghanistan is never a sanctuary for al-Qaida and its partners.
“The only way to accomplish this task is to make sure our Afghan partners secure and govern themselves so that our forces and civilians can hand off tasks to them. The beginning of the handover will begin in about a week and a half or so.”
“Afghan Security Forces will take over seven areas in the country, three provinces and four municipalities which are the capitals in their provinces. They make up 25 percent of the population. This is a significant development.”
Another sticking point that Petraeus spoke about was the development and increase of the Afghan local police, which will increase from 10 to 15 thousand.
“This is an important program because no one protects their home like a homeowner and this really mobilizes a community. When community representatives, shura council members, nominate their sons to defend their village, their valleys, this is them defending their community and showing their commitment to fight the Taliban.”
He also said that since the death of Osama Bin Laden there has been enormous damage done to al-Qaida in the tribal areas of Pakistan. This has interrupted their efforts and holds the prospect of their defeat and dismantling of their network.
“We are watching very carefully the Afghanistan, Pakistan border areas. We are not pursuing a ‘whack a’ mole’ strategy. Al-Qaida is a franchise and you must go after it wherever it is, which we have done over the last decade.”
“There has been a close coordination between many militaries working together and very closely with intelligence agencies. This partnership has lead to, for example, the Abbottabad raid. This has put pressure on their leadership. Al-Qaida might be around for some time but whether they can rebuild is the issue.”
|Date Posted:||07.09.2011 12:28|
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