The Department of Defense provided to Congress today the April 2014 “Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan,” a report to Congress in accordance with Section 1230 and 1231 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2008 (Public Law 110-181), as amended; to include section 1221 of the NDAA for FY 2012 (Public Law 112-81); and sections 1212, 1223, and 1531(d) of the NDAA for FY 2013 (Public Law 112-239).
During the reporting period, Afghan security forces sustained the gains they made in the 2013 fighting season and successfully secured the presidential and provincial council elections on April 5, 2014. The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and Afghan election institutions laid the groundwork for a successful election, registering millions of voters and securing thousands of polling sites, with minimal international assistance.
“The performance of Afghan security forces on election day stands as testament to their growing ability to provide stability and protect their fellow citizens, they’ve come a long way,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby.
Although the ANSF continues to make progress, four key high-end capability gaps will remain after the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission ends on Dec. 31, 2014: air support; intelligence enterprise; special operations; and Afghan security ministry capacity. International funding and coalition force assistance will be critical to sustaining the force going forward.
While the Taliban retained influence in parts of the country and maintained their ability to carry out attacks, the nature of these attacks – which frequently target civilians indiscriminately – highlight the differences between the current situation and that which allowed the Taliban to come to power originally. “Even as the Taliban retain the ability to carry out attacks, they do so at the expense of any claim to significant popular support,” said Kirby.
The report is posted at http://www.defense.gov/pubs/April_1230_Report_Final.pdf
Today’s shooting was a terrible tragedy for the Fort Hood community, the Department of Defense, and for the nation. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. And my sympathies go out to this strong and resilient community, which has experienced this kind of senseless violence all too recently.
There is nothing more important to us as an institution than the safety and well-being of our people, and for that reason I am grateful to all the first responders who rushed to the scene. We will closely monitor the situation at Fort Hood and stay informed by what investigators and law enforcement personnel learn about the shooting.