Afghanistan 2.0: A Look Ahead at Transition

By Jared

Nov 10, 2010 6:08pm

ABC News' Luis Martinez reports: President Obama will attend the NATO leaders summit next week in Lisbon that will likely set 2014 as the target date for NATO to hand over security responsibilities to the Afghan government. But summit attendees are also likely to approve a timetable to start that will start that process next spring, by turning over the most secure districts and provinces to Afghan control.  We’ve heard about some of the most likely candidates: Herat Province to the west, Subori District north of Kabul and the central provinces of Bamyan and Panjshir. At the bottom of the list: Kandahar and Helmand. Today, we got insights into the extremely stable security situation in Bamyan, Panjshir and Parwan Provinces in central Afghanistan. It seems that the security transition has already occurred in all but name in Bamyan and Panjshir provinces. The security situation is so stable there that the US Army task force responsible for security there has no combat forces working in the two provinces. In fact, the only US military presence there is the 50 personnel at the PRT’s and dozens of embedded trainers. The only reason there is a combat battalion in Parwan Province is because the task force is responsible for security at Bagram Air Base, which is located in the province. The three provinces are so secure that there are no Afghan Army troops there and the Afghan National Police that has the lead for security.  The reality on the ground in these provinces right now is the goal for the rest of the country by 2014.  Col. William Roy heads Task Force Wolverine which is nominally in charge of security for the three provinces.  In a videoconference today, he referred to the current situation in the three  provinces as what the next phase of transition in Afghanistan will look like, where stable security allows for economic and political development.  It’s what he likes to call “Afghanistan 2.0″.   Another reason Roy’s unit is a peek into the future, two of his battalions have been reassigned to other units in eastern Afghanistan and are engaged in heavy combat.  It’s the premise behind “thinning out” that’ll begin in July, 2011: as secure areas under US control are transitioned, US forces responsible for security will move to other areas where they’re still needed. Roy was cagey about whether he’d actually recommended Bamyan and Panjshir for transition, but there’s no doubt that he did.  “We look across our battle space as prime for transition in the days ahead,” he said.  Roy praised the professionalism and enthusiasm of the Afghan Police in the provinces.  Surprisingly, he said the literacy rate for policemen in Bamyan province is 90 percent. Compare that to the 14 to 18 percent literacy rate for the rest of the force. Because of the good security situation, Roy’s troops focus on economic development and governance.  He doesn’t think that a formal security transition will lead to a slideback in security. –Luis Martinez

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus