Former US Commander in Afghanistan hopeful about country’s future

Washington, Mar 26: Former commander of international forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen has said Afghan security forces have proven to be more capable than anyone expected.

He added that they will be ready to take over the security of the country by 2014.

According to ABC News, Allen credited the progress made by Afghan security forces to developmental strategies as much as building military capacity, citing the push for literacy within Afghan forces.

He said that the literacy programme was championed by international forces commanders, Stanley McChrystal, David Petraeus and then himself, and that he expected General Joseph Dunford to continue the programme because of its success.

Allen said more than half the Afghan troops now have the capacity to read and write at a first grade level.

According to the report, he added that despite a turbulent 2012 dealing with the fallout of a video that purportedly showed troops urinating on the corpses of suspected Taliban fighters, the furor over the burning of Korans at a U.S. base in Afghanistan, and an increase in insider attacks, the U.S. was still able to accomplish its major goals for Afghanistan this year.

He called the achievement ‘momentous’, noting that already in 2013, U.S. troop positions in Afghanistan mostly are serving advisory roles.

Despite all the good news, Allen warned on some of the issues that could upend progress.

His biggest concern he said was not Afghanistan, but the role its neighbor Pakistan continued to play in securing peace and stability in the region.

He described the relationship between Pakistan, Afghanistan and, by extension, the U.S. as ‘complicated’. (ANI)