• Afghan National Army Maj. Gen. Mohammad Sharif Yaftali, commanding general of the 203rd Corps, provides Maj. Gen. James C. McConville, commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force 101, with an operational overview and intelligence briefing, June 16, 2013, in eastern Afghanistan.

    Afghan National Army takes the lead

    Afghan National Army Maj. Gen. Mohammad Sharif Yaftali, commanding general of the 203rd Corps, provides Maj. Gen. James C. McConville, commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force 101, with an operational overview and intelligence briefing, June 16...

  • The Afghan National Security Forces, led by the 203rd Corps of the Afghan National Army, conducted an operation, June 28- July 7, 2013, to increase security in the provinces south of Kabul, to include Paktika, Paktiya, Logar, Wardak and Ghazni. This operation, named OPERATION NIJAT II, has immensely increased security by removing over 60 improvised explosive devices from roads, finding and destroying multiple caches of weapons, and killing enemy fighters in the region. The mission was fully Afghan planned, led, and executed, and included all layers of the Afghan National Security Forces, to include the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, Afghan Uniformed Police, Afghan Civil Order Police, Afghan Local Police and the National Directorate of Security, as well as the support and cooperation of government officials at all levels. These key players came together to conduct a rehearsal and brief Afghan National Army Maj. Gen. Mohammad Sharif Yaftali and government officials on the plan.

    Afghan National Army conduct corps-level combined arms rehearsal

    The Afghan National Security Forces, led by the 203rd Corps of the Afghan National Army, conducted an operation, June 28- July 7, 2013, to increase security in the provinces south of Kabul, to include Paktika, Paktiya, Logar, Wardak and Ghazni. This...

WASHINGTON (Aug. 15, 2013) -- Afghan security forces are in the lead and continue to grow in capacity and capability in the fight against the enemies of Afghanistan, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force's Regional Command-East said yesterday.

Maj. Gen. James C. McConville, commander of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), as well as the commander of Regional Commmand-East, also told Pentagon reporters via satellite that even with the progress made by Afghanistan's security forces they are likely to need U.S. support beyond 2014.

Afghan forces are winning, he said, but aren't yet dominating the enemy in a way that takes away their will to fight. It will also take time before the Afghan air force is at full capacity, McConville said.

However, when the Afghan air force reaches full capacity, he said, the enemies of Afghanistan "are not going to be willing to continue the conflict."

Meanwhile, ISAF's draw down is progressing, McConville said. Since March, he noted, the number of coalition bases has declined from 58 to 17.

"We have moved into an advise-and-assist role," said McConville. "Afghan security forces are in the lead [and] they are doing most of the fighting."

Two Afghan army corps -- the 201st and the 202nd -- operate in Regional Command-East. Those units, McConville said, are currently conducting integrated operations involving ground troops with indirect-fire and air support.

"In fact, the 201st just did the largest air assault in recent Afghan history, with six Mi-17s and two Mi-35 [helicopters]," he said.

As Afghan forces have taken a higher-profile role in securing Afghanistan, the enemy is facing a propaganda problem, the general said.

"They used to be able to say that they were fighting foreign occupiers, and they can no longer really say that anymore because they're fighting Afghan security forces and they're fighting against the Afghan people," he said.

There are only about two months left in the fighting season in Afghanistan, McConville said. And, with winter approaching and the holy month of Ramadan over, the general said he expects the enemy to come out fighting.

"We're expecting a spike in violence," he said. "We expect the enemies of the Afghan people to come out and try to achieve those objectives that they've not been able to achieve."

Now is a critical time, McConville said.

"This is the first time that the Afghan security forces have been in the lead during the entire fighting season," he said. "And they believe they're winning, and I tend to agree with them."

Page last updated Fri August 16th, 2013 at 06:52