News: TRANCHE 2 Conference: Transition is making progress
Story by Chief Petty Officer Oscar Troncoso
MAZAR-E SHARIF, Afghanistan – Inteqal is the Dari word for transition and it also describes the current phase of the Afghan National Security Force and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Coalition forces have been working alongside the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police with the goal of transitioning security to the Afghan people. At the second TRANCHE (German word for “transition”) conference held, Nov. 19 and 20 at Camp Marmal, Brig. Gen. Laszlo Szabo, chief of Staff for ISAF Regional Command North, said this critical changeover is on the right track.
“It has now been more than ten years since coalition operations began in Afghanistan. Throughout this period, we have seen considerable progress. In particular, the Afghan National Security Force has distinctly improved in capacity and effectiveness which is ahead of the development schedule. The comprehensive, population centric counter-insurgency operations have delivered significantly greater levels of security in areas that were firmly in the grasp of the insurgency. We also see progress in infrastructure development and the delivery of better governance, both nationally and at the provincial level.”
A frequently mentioned date that will mark the completion of the transition is the end of the year 2014. While this date is fast approaching, the goal of empowering the Afghan people so that they will eventually control their own destiny will continue to be a methodical and carefully plotted course.
“The Afghan people are ready for transition, but after almost 30 years of conflict, they also understand that transition should be a gradual and deliberate process and that ISAF assistance is to help ensure that the process is successful and irreversible. The Afghan people can be confident that ISAF will assist and support their government and their security forces to build and develop their capacity and capabilities. We will continue to support the Afghan government and its security forces to provide security, stability and prosperity to Afghanistan,” said Szabo.
One sign that points to a successful transition is the fact that more Afghans are willing to join their army and police forces. The ANSF and ANP have met its goal of increasing its size in order to adequately protect its population. According to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the ANSP has increased from 97,000 to 138,000 and the ANP has grown from 95,000 to 120, 5000. Both targets were reached earlier than anticipated.
The road to success, however, will continue to be filled with challenges at every turn. The most significant challenge is the commitment of insurgents to foil the smooth passage from ISAF to ANSF. But this is a sign, says Szabo, that insurgents are worried that coalition forces are making progress.
“The insurgents may mount a challenge to the ANSF and attempt to disrupt Inteqal. This continuing insurgent activity should not be taken as a failure in the process; rather it is the enemies’ concern. The already shown performance of the ANSF in countering this challenge will demonstrate the true progress of these Afghan institutions and we will highlight these successes at every opportunity.”
Even with evidence of a successful transitional phase, Szabo cautions that there needs to be patience because there is still a long road ahead filled with additional challenges.
“For security gains to be sustainable, governance and development need further improvement. Bust as post conflict shows, the full establishment of good governance and rule of law will take time. GIRoA, supported by the international community, is working towards achieving this, and will continue to progress over time. Yes, there is still considerable work to be done, but the overall progress is undeniable.”