October 4, 2011

ISAF press briefing, Oct. 4, 2011

By ISAF Headquarters Public Affairs

KABUL, Afghanistan (Oct. 4, 2011) – Together with the support of coalition and international communities, the people of Afghanistan will mark their 10th year of a new path Oct. 7: a new rule of Afghanistan.

“Afghans themselves along with hundreds of thousands of international communities have created a more stable Afghanistan,” said the International Security Assistance Force spokesperson, German Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson. “To everyone who has made a contribution, I would like to say ‘thank you’ on behalf of ISAF.”

Over the past 10 years, Afghanistan has made remarkable progress in shaking off the rule of the Taliban to enter a new era of economic and technological progress and development to include:

• More than 7 million students are in schools across Afghanistan, one third of them girls.

• 50 percent of Afghans have televisions, compared with almost none in 2001

• Afghans can watch 75 television stations and listen to 175 radio stations

• An estimated 60% of Afghans have cell phones

“The takeaway here is, today’s Afghanistan is expanding its knowledge, creating its national thinkers and leaders of tomorrow,” said Jacobson. “It is better connected inside and outside its borders.”

In addition, the Afghan National Security Forces are growing and becoming better equipped to ensure the safety of the Afghan people.

The Afghan National Army is about 170,000 strong and the Afghan National Police is 135,000 strong. They are prepared to keep this nation secure with quality equipment, vehicles and aircraft; accompanied by professional training that continues to increase their level of skill and ability.

“Afghan forces are providing lead security for up to a quarter of the Afghan population,” said Dominic Medley, NATO Civilian Spokesman. “They have continued to take the lead responsibility for security in Afghanistan and transition is on track to be completed in 2014.”

Together with their coalition partners, the Afghan National Security Forces are making notable progress in securing this nation.

“We noted this past week that from June through August 2011, enemy-initiated attacks were 17 percent lower than the same period in 2010,” said Australian Army Maj. Gen. Michael Krause, Deputy Chief of Staff Plans, at ISAF Joint Command. “It’s also noted that for the period January through August 2011, complex and coordinated attacks by insurgents were 29 percent lower than the same period in 2010.

These examples provide tangible evidence that conditions are indeed improving, and together with the people of Afghanistan ISAF will continue to support their movement toward new security and prosperity.

“NATO will not leave Afghanistan to fall back into the hands of extremists and terrorists,” Medley said. “We will not leave Afghanistan behind; we’ll stay committed, with a focus to train and educate Afghan security forces.”

(SOURCE)

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