U.S. heartened as Afghan troops complete operation on their own
CAMP THUNDER, Afghanistan — Gen. Mohammad Sharif Yaftali, commander of Afghanistan's 203rd Thunder Corps, looked happy as he sat down for lunch in his eastern command post near the border with Pakistan.
His troops, he said, had just successfully completed a large-scale operation — code-named Azadi, or “freedom” — aimed at securing strategic highways leading out of Kabul and clearing a region around the capital. Along the way, his officers sat down with tribal elders to win support for the military and set up local police forces to defend their villages from the Taliban. It was all done without international troops.
“We did the planning and everything ourselves,” Yaftali said, beaming. “The coalition was there, but they did not fight with us. ”
There have been deep questions about the ability of the Afghan army to take the fight to the insurgency with international combat troops scheduled to leave the country by the end of 2014.
The 203rd's success may be a sign that Afghans may be able to hold their own.
U.S. and coalition military officials say that overall, the nascent force is surpassing many of their expectations. They say it is far better prepared to fight alone than many people think and should be able to take over.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.