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Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan

December 21, 2012

Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan (PDF)

Source: U.S. Department of Defense

During the reporting period of April 1 to September 30, 2012, the Coalition and our Afghan partners blunted the insurgent summer offensive, continued to transition the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) into security lead, pushed violence out of most populated areas, and coalition member nations signed several international agreements to support the long-term stability and security of Afghanistan. In May, President Obama and President Karzai signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement, reflecting the two governments’ desire for an enduring partnership. At the May 2012 Chicago Summit, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) nations also pledged to support Afghanistan through 2017. This was followed in July by the Tokyo Conference, at which the international community declared its support for Afghanistan by linking specific reforms in governance and rule-of-law by the Afghan government with sustained financial assistance through 2015.

During the reporting period enemy-initiated attacks (EIAs) were up one percent compared to the same period last year, due in large part to a shortened poppy harvest employing low-level insurgents far less than in past years. However, EIAs are down 3 percent from January to September 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, after dropping nine percent in 2011 compared to 2010. EIAs are now disproportionately occurring outside of populated areas, and the security of many of Afghanistan’s largest cities increased substantially during the reporting period.

Security progress and the development of the ANSF during the reporting period have enabled the security transition process to continue in accordance with the framework agreed to at the 2010 Lisbon Summit. As of the end of September 2012, roughly 76 percent of Afghans are living in areas where the ANSF has begun to assume the lead for security.

Despite these and other positive trends during the reporting period, the campaign continued to face challenges, including a rise in insider attacks. The rise in insider attacks has the potential to adversely affect the Coalition’s political landscape, but mitigation policies and a collective ISAF-ANSF approach are helping to reduce risks to coalition personnel, and to sustain confidence in the campaign. The cause of and eventual solution to this joint ISAF and ANSF problem will require continuous assessment; it remains clear that the insider threat is both an enemy tactic and has a cultural component. The many mitigation policies recently put in place will require additional time to assess their effects, although the number of insider attacks has dropped off sharply from the peak in August.

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