STAND TO!

Edition: Thu, March 17, 2005
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SENIOR LEADERS ARE SAYING

Sustaining [the] international and resource commitments, to recognize that there is still much to be done here by everyone in the international community, is crucial to keeping this success going. If this were a 10-mile race here in Afghanistan, we're at about mile three. There are many miles to go, and it's going to take great support to get to that.

Lt. Gen. David Barno
Commander, Combined Forces Command Afghanistan

TODAY'S FOCUS

UPDATE ON AFGHANISTAN

Afghanistan is making good political progress:

- Women are playing a greater role in the country's political and economic life.
- The Afghan government has established good working relationships with its neighbors, especially Pakistan.

The Afghan army is a unifying force for the country:

- Units are composed of all ethnic groups from around the country.
- Twenty-two thousand soldiers in the Afghan National Army have been trained and deployed.
- Increased economic activity in Afghanistan is a sign of the country's growing security and stability.

NATO is playing an important and growing part in stability operations in Afghanistan:

- NATO commands the International Security Assistance Force in and around Kabul. That force is expanding to the western portion of the country.
- NATO will establish four additional provincial reconstruction teams in western Afghanistan.

Opium cultivation remains a huge problem:
- Leaders are pleased with the level of cooperation they have received to confront the drug problem.
- Recently, Afghan forces seized more than 2,000 pounds of heroin in an operation near Jalalabad.

The search for Osama bin Laden continues. Operations in Iraq have not detracted from this priority.

The number of violent contacts between Coalition forces and enemy fighters in Afghanistan is declining:

- Insurgent activity has decreased, and the number of former Taliban fighters willing to be part of the solution instead of the problem has increased.
- Afghan security forces are operating much more freely in areas that used to be very violent.
- Nongovernmental and international aid organizations are much more willing to go into many areas in Afghanistan.

Source: DOD

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