Every six months the Department of Defense provides to Congress a semiannual report entitled Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan. The report covers the events from the previous six months – in this case, from December to May 2019. The report states that the principal goal of the United States South Asia Strategy is to “. . . conclude the war in Afghanistan on terms favorable to Afghanistan and the United States.”
Currently the United States is engaging in a “fight and talk” approach with the Taliban. Negotiations have been ongoing for over a year and the report claims progress has been made. Apparently U.S. military leaders believe that increased military pressure, international calls for peace, and U.S. engagements with a multitude of governments and agencies are ” . . . driving the Taliban to negotiations.”
The report’s update on the security situation indicates that the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) maintain control of the large cities and all of the provincial capitals. The Taliban control a significant portion of the rural areas and some district centers.
The ANDSF are increasing the number of operations conducted while reducing checkpoints. It has also made some leadership changes that will help the security forces become more professional. The ANDSF still has some shortcomings and will require continued funding and advise, training, and assistance in the future.
According to the report, General Scott Miller, the commander of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission, has implemented a “. . . new operational design (that) synchronizes U.S. counterterrorism (CT) capabilities with increased Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) operations and focuses NATO Resolute Support Mission’s Train, Advise, and Assist (TAA) efforts to the “point of need”.”
The report states that the Afghan Special Security Forces (ASSF) have taken the lead in offensive operations (not sure how this is different from previous years). The ASSF is covered in pages 65 to 70 (ANASOC and SMW) and 78 to 79 (Police Special Units).
This 92-page report has six sections:
- Strategy and Objectives
- Threat Assessment
- Overview of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces
- Ministry of Defense and Afghan National Army
- Ministry of Interior and Afghan National Police
- Financing the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces
Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan, DOD, June 2019.