Editor in Chief: Dr. Hussain Yasa Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Significant Gains Made in Afghanistan, Claims Carter

Significant Gains Made in  Afghanistan, Claims Carter

WASHINGTON - The United States has made significant gains in Afghanistan in the last eight years, the US defense secretary Ashton Carter claimed, hoping the next administration will lead the way in advancing the relationship.
“My hope is that the next administration will lead the way in advancing this relationship, because the Afghan people will need the partnership of the United States for many years to come,” Ashton Carter wrote in an exit memo.
At the direction of President Barack Obama, his cabinet colleagues have written exit memos on the accomplishments of their respective departments over the last eight years.
When Obama took office in 2009, the situation in Afghanistan had deteriorated, with the Taliban beginning to control additional swaths of territory while engaging in devastating attacks across the country, Carter wrote.
“Twice in 2009, he directed increased reinforcements to Afghanistan to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaeda and its extremist allies,” he said, adding that the Pentagon had since worked closely with Afghan partners to reduce the terrorist threats and give the people the opportunity to succeed.
“We have made significant gains. We assisted the Afghan government in establishing, enabling, and equipping the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), which today total more than 350,000 personnel,” he said.
In April 2014, Afghanistan held a presidential election and produced a government consistent with its laws and constitution. And by the end of 2014, the ANDSF’s increasing capability allowed for them to take the lead in providing security, and the US shifted to a train, advise, assist mission, Carter added.
“Today, the United States has fewer than 10,000 military personnel in the country, but we continue to lead the way in international support for Afghanistan, leading a coalition of 41 allies and partners,” the secretary continued.
Carter said the Bilateral Security Agreement and Status of Forces Agreement negotiated by the Obama administration provided the foundation for a long-term relationship between the United States and NATO with Afghanistan.
In a separate memo, Secretary of State John Kerry said the US had invested “significant blood and treasure” in Afghanistan’s future and it must continue to support the Afghan people as they work to build a secure and peaceful future in the months and years ahead.
“In Afghanistan, we refocused our resources to deal crippling blows to al-Qaeda core’s senior leadership, we trained Afghan forces to take responsibility for their own security, and we helped the Afghan people build a more prosperous future,” Kerry said.
Today, the American troops in Afghanistan were focused on training and advising Afghan forces and supporting counterterrorism operations, he added.
“We have also surged our diplomatic efforts to support Afghanistan’s government, including after the disputed presidential elections in 2014. At a time of great uncertainty that could easily have erupted into civil war, the United States helped forge agreement on an inclusive Government of National Unity to lead the country forward,” he wrote.
“Afghanistan is far from perfect, and it will take sustained engagement and effort in the years ahead to protect the progress we’ve made. But with our support, millions of Afghan boys – and particularly girls – who were not in school eight years ago are getting an education today. Afghans have cast their ballots in democratic elections and seen a peaceful transfer of power.” (Pajhwok)