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Frequently Asked Questions



FAQ: Security

Why is the mission in Afghanistan important to global security?

The recent terrorists plot in London, the bombing in  Tokyo, Madrid, London, New Delhi, Bali and Kandahar show that the terrorists continue to  kill and destroy in order to divide peoples, erode freedoms, and destroy pluralism and democracy. With the 5th anniversary of 9/11 behind us, we must remember that Afghanistan was the original front on the war on terror, and will remain a crucial mission for Coalition Forces and the international community for the foreseeable future. As Afghanistan’s nascent state evolves, our priorities continue to be strengthening the capacity of the Afghanistan National Army and Police, ending the influence of narcotics on our poorest citizens and continuing to fight in the global war on terror.

 
What is the strategy for fighting terrorism in Afghanistan?

In Afghanistan, we are fighting terrorism as a phenomenon, not just terrorists as individuals. Large-scale, periodic military sweeps can not completely eliminate the terrorist infiltrations. Eventually, the soldiers pull back, and the terrorists crawl out of their hiding places to renew their campaign of fear and intimidation. To address this issue, President Karzai recommends a “Clear, Hold and Build Strategy” to fight terrorism more effectively. First, the countryside will be cleared of terrorists through large scale, periodic military operations. Next, a compact and highly mobile international military force will work with our national army and local government authorities to hold the area and respond to daily terrorist attacks. We will further enhance the capacity of the Afghan National Police to move in and to be permanently present in villages that have been threatened by terrorist incursions. In the long term, increased resources will allow Afghan police to be present twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to hold and defend the population. Last, where we are present, we must build. To keep the trust and support of ordinary citizens, we must work together to implement reconstruction in the countryside and improve the daily lives of civilians. Without adequate development and job opportunities, people will be taken hostage by the terrorists and narco-traffickers. This improvement of daily life for our most vulnerable citizens is what we mean by fighting terrorism as a phenomenon.

How can other nations help Afghanistan fight the war on terror?

The Government of Afghanistan requires adequate resources to simultaneously fight against terror and rebuild state institutions. Resources for state-building in Afghanistan have paled in comparison to resources that were made available to other reconstruction efforts. The RAND Corporation has estimated that international aid to Afghanistan amounts to $57 per person, compared against $679 per person for the Bosnian reconstruction and $206 per person in Iraq. RAND also found that Afghanistan has one soldier for every thousand people vs. nineteen soldiers per thousand in Bosnia and seven soldiers per thousand in Iraq. Additional resources could provide police with the salaries, equipment and training necessary to fight against the enemies of a peaceful, democratic Afghanistan.

What is Afghanistan’s current security situation?

Afghanistan has achieved much in the past five years, but serious challenges and determined enemies continue to resist the establishment of a peaceful, pluralistic democracy in Afghanistan. Rule of law had been supplanted by rule of the gun, and the Taliban government harbored Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Ladin. No army or police force existed to protect the Afghan people.

Afghanistan is no longer—and will never again become—a safe have for terrorists. In the last five years. Today, the Afghanistan National Army (ANA) has trained approximately 30,000 soldiers, and the Afghanistan National Police Force (ANP) has trained approximately 40,000 police officers, including 3,600 highway police and 12,000 border police. The ANA is composed of five corps and ten brigades. It is an infantry-centric force focused on counterinsurgency capability and has successfully conducted independent combat operations. 62,000 combatants have been disarmed and reintegrated and over 95,000 pieces of heavy weaponry have been collected

Today, there is strong international consensus on the need to help Afghanistan.  Afghanistan is once more playing its historic role in bridging cultures, countries and civilizations. Over 60 counties are helping rebuild Afghanistan. 36 countries have troops in Afghanistan and 41 countries are helping train and equip our national army. 21,000 U.S. troops are currently defending freedom in Afghanistan.

NATO’s command in Afghanistan, known as the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), expanded in July to cover Afghanistan’s southern provinces. For the first time in its history, NATO forces are deployed beyond their traditional European borders. There are 24 Provisional Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) controlled by NATO operating throughout the nation. These entities, a mixture of military and civilians, are involved in infrastructure improvement. This is a critical mission for NATO; as they fight against terror in Afghanistan, NATO forces send a bold message to enemies of peace in Afghanistan and dramatically enhance global security.

To win the peace in Afghansitan, President Karzai has recommended a “Clear, Hold and Build Strategy.” First, the countryside will be cleared of terrorists through large scale, periodic military operations. Next, a compact and highly mobile international military force will work with the ANA and local government authorities to hold the area and respond to daily terrorist attacks. In the long term, increased resources will allow Afghan police to be present twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to hold and defend the population. Last, where we are present, we must build. To keep the trust and support of ordinary citizens, we must work together to implement reconstruction in the countryside and improve the daily lives of civilians. In this way, we will fight both terrorists as individuals and terrorists as a phenomenon.

 

Who is protecting the Afghan people from terrorist aggression?

The Afghan National Army and National Police Force is cooperating a number of international forces to protect the people of Afghanistan. The current security situation in Afghanistan necessitates the continued presence of international forces. Over sixty counties are helping rebuild Afghanistan. Thirty-six countries have troops in Afghanistan supporting the Coalition Forces. Forty-one countries are helping train and equip the national army. The stability and prosperity of Afghanistan is an matter of international consensus.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was created in accordance with the Bonn Conference, in December 2001, after the ousting of the Taliban regime. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) took over command and coordination of ISAF in August 2003. This is the first mission outside the Euro-Atlantic area in NATO’s history. Initially restricted to providing security in and around Kabul, NATO's mission now covers about 50% of the country's territory and is expanding its presence in Southern Afghanistan. This transfer will allow the US military to shift more of its 22,000 troops in Afghanistan toward the border with Pakistan to focus on counter-terrorism. It will also mean a far larger military role for the 18,000 NATO troops here, which will be embarking on one of the most difficult tasks of its 57-year history.

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