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
- Alone at controls, Germanwings co-pilot sought to ‘destroy’ the plane
- Putin’s sure Russia wins tug-of-war with West
- Controversial bishop’s appointment in Chile riles pope’s panel
- Iran poses top threat to Mideast stability, Israeli consul general says
- Delivery of biggest warship since WWII another sign of expanding Japanese military
- Terrorists strike Libya officials in retaliation
- Seafood on U.S. shelves linked to slaves in Indonesia
- Iran draft cuts hardware, would extend time it would take to build bomb, U.S. says
- Afghan president vows self-reliance for nation
- Obama affirms Israel stance
- Tunisians tighten security at main port, headquarters of state radio