In the news...

October 19, 2012

Karzai: NATO can speed up handover of security

Slobodan Lekic
Associated Press

President Hamid Karzai said Oct. 18 the nation’s military and police are ready and willing to take full responsibility for security in the country if the U.S.-led international coalition decides to speed up the handover to Afghan government forces.
With support for the already unpopular war fading in the West, there has been growing speculation that NATO could accelerate withdrawal plans that currently call for the security transition to Afghan forces to be complete by the end of 2014, when all foreign combat troops are scheduled to leave the country.

“Afghans are ready to expedite the process of transition if necessary, and willing as well,” Karzai said during a joint news conference with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. “So this is in all aspects good news for us and good news for NATO.”

A NATO diplomat said there was no discussion of speeding up the 2014 timeline during the meeting between Karzai and the alliance chief. The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with alliance’s regulations, said Karzai was eager to see the next stage of transition, which would have Afghan forces take charge of security for almost the entire country.
There are questions, however, about the ability of the Afghan forces to secure the country.

The Afghan army has grown to 184,676 soldiers, and the country’s police force now numbers 146,339 officers – putting them just short of the planned number of 352,000 members. But critics say the rapid expansion has not significantly improved their ability to plan and conduct operations without support from foreign forces in terms of logistics, air support and medical evacuations.

Furthermore, the number of Afghans leaving the army has remained stubbornly high, with 27 percent of troops either deserting or not re-enlisting despite the higher salaries offered. And though the number of volunteers is still high, the army needs to train about 50,000 recruits each year just to compensate for the loss.

Polls show that the 11-year war has little public support among NATO’s 28 member states, most of which are cutting defense budgets as part of the austerity measures adopted to deal with the financial crises.

A recent upsurge in the number of insider attacks on coalition troops by Afghan soldiers or police – or insurgents disguised in their uniforms – has further undermined public support for the war in the West. At least 52 American and other NATO troops have died so far this year in those attacks.

In the past several months, there have been calls in the United States and elsewhere to accelerate the drawdown and to withdraw coalition troops by the end of next year.

Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance remains committed to help enable Afghan forces assume full responsibility for the country’s security after 2014. The military alliance has also agreed to offer a smaller, post-2014 mission to help Afghan forces with training, advice and assistance.

“We are committed to continuing that cooperation with the Afghan national security forces,” he said.

The secretary-general and NATO’s governing body, the North Atlantic Council, were visiting Kabul Oct. 18 for meetings with Karzai, coalition military commander Gen. John Allen and commanders of Afghan government forces.

The current strategy agreed to by NATO, its partners and Karzai’s government is to enable the Afghans to take over the war against the Taliban and other insurgents by the end of 2014.

NATO started drawing down its forces earlier this year. It currently has 104,000 troops in Afghanistan – 68,000 of them Americans – down from 140,000 the alliance had here in 2011. Among those who left are the 33,000 U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan after 2009, when President Barack Obama ordered a surge in a bid to quell the Taliban.

Karzai also said he did not believe the outcome of the upcoming presidential elections in the United States would affect Washington’s long-term policy toward Afghanistan regardless of whether President Barack Obama or his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, emerges as the winner.

“America has a set strategy for Afghanistan and any government who comes in will follow that, so it will not affect Afghanistan,” Karzai said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines December 17, 2014

News: U.S. Air Force tanker platform slated for year-end debut - Boeing is planning for first flight of its 767-2C – upon which the U.S. Air Force’s new KC-46 tanker will be based – by year’s end, six months late. Northrop Grumman wins $657.4 million deal to supply drones to South Korea - Northrop Grumman has won...
 
 

NASA launches new Micro-g NExT for undergraduates

NASA is offering undergraduate students an opportunity to participate in a new microgravity activity called Micro-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Teams. The deadline for proposals is Jan. 28, 2015. Micro-g NExT challenges students to work in teams to design and build prototypes of spacewalking tools to be used by astronauts for spacewalk training in the...
 
 
launch1

Storm fails to quench liftoff of secret reconnaissance satellite

The fiery launch of an Atlas V (541), among the most powerful of the venerable Atlas family, briefly dispelled the gloom over Californiaís Central Coast on the evening of Dec. 12. A team of personnel from United Launch Allianc...
 

 
Coast Guard photograph

Navy demonstrates unmanned helicopter operations aboard Coast Guard cutter

http://static.dvidshub.net/media/video/1412/DOD_102145893/DOD_102145893-512×288-442k.mp4 Coast Guard photograph An MQ-8B Fire Scout UAS is tested off the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf near Los Angeles, Dec. 5 2014. The Coast...
 
 
GPS-OCX

GPS III, OCX successfully demonstrate key satellite command, control capabilities

Lockheed Martin and Raytheon successfully completed the fourth of five planned launch and early orbit exercises to demonstrate new automation capabilities, information assurance and launch readiness of the worldís most powerfu...
 
 

Aerojet Rocketdyne successfully demonstrates 3D printed rocket propulsion system for satellites

Aerojet Rocketdyne has successfully completed a hot-fire test of its MPS-120 CubeSat High-Impulse Adaptable Modular Propulsion System. The MPS-120 is the first 3D-printed hydrazine integrated propulsion system and is designed to provide propulsion for CubeSats, enabling missions not previously available to these tiny satellites. The project was funded out of the NASA Office of Chief...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>