The withdrawal of 23,000 US troops from Afghanistan this year has reached its halfway mark, said U.S. Gen. John Allen, the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces. In a recent interview Gen. John Allen said that the entire wrapping up and withdrawal process is nothing less than a milestone especially after a decade in war-torn nation.
However, at the same time he was also cautious about laying too much emphasis on the US troop drawdown because the US led coalition campaign is continuing. He also said that while Afghan security forces were increasingly taking the lead, there is more work and effort that needs to be done in shoring up their confidence levels in order to meet all possible challenges as effectively as possible.
According to Gen. Allen summer’s coalition operations were aimed at pushing the insurgents farther from population centers, expanding the security zone around the capital, Kabul, and getting more Afghan forces in the eastern areas that border Pakistan.
With the Afghan forces showing themselves to be increasingly capable on the battlefield, getting them into the lead is an essential goal in the upcoming 29 months. "We haven't even recruited the whole Afghan national security force. That's not going to happen for another couple months, but by Oct. 1, we hope to be at 352,000," he said. "We don't finish completely fielding the Afghan forces until December 2013. So just at that level alone there is significant work remaining to be done."
It is important to mention here that 90% of coalition operations are partnered with Afghan forces as stated by Allen. "August will be the heaviest month," Allen said. "A lot is coming out now, and a great deal will come out in August and early September. We'll be done probably around mid-September or so."