The U.S. Department of Defense submitted a report to Congress this December on the status of Afghanistan’s transition. Covering progress made in the country from April 1 to September 30, 2012, the report suggests multiple challenges persist as the country’s security is transferred into the hands of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
Key Report Findings:
- In most populated areas, insurgent attacks are becoming more isolated. The report contends that now 80 percent of insurgent attacks occur in districts that encompass only 20 percent of the country’s population. Half the attacks in the country occur in just 17 districts containing 5 percent of the population. Additionally, since 2010, attacks initiated by insurgents (or enemy initiated attacks, EIAs) have decreased by 12 percent. Insurgent-caused civilian casualties have also declined by 11 percent.
- NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is moving away from direct combat to training and assisting ANSF at the tactical and operational levels. Security Force Assistance Teams (SFATs) comprised of international troops plan to support specific ANSF units. The ANSF has demonstrated growing capabilities in a volatile security environment, in spite of the challenges. Its size has also increased by 88, 464 personnel.
- Insider attacks—also known as “green on blue incidents,” or attacks by ANSF members on ISAF members, and within the ANSF— have increased in frequency since 2008. Reasons for such attacks include infiltration, impersonation, co-option, post-traumatic stress, inter-personal disputes, and extremist views. Insurgent propaganda continues to play a role in insider attacks, regardless of whether insurgents are directly responsible, or not. The report argues that the persistence of such attacks is likely to further weaken the ISAF-ANSF mission and aid the insurgency.
- Major threats to future stability include the limited capacity of the Afghan government, corruption, and Pakistan’s provision of safe havens to insurgents. In spite of its improved relationship with Afghanistan, Pakistan’s sanctuaries to insurgents, such as the Haqqani Taliban Network in North Waziristan, continues to hinder progress in Afghanistan’s security situation.
The full text of the report is available here.