NATO has made a renewed push to secure Afghanistan after attacks rose to their highest levels since the Taliban regime of Mullah Omar was ousted in early 2002. At this week’s annual NATO summit in Bucharest, Bulgaria, members committed additional troops to Afghanistan. France will send a battalion of infantry – more than 700 troops. Georgia will send 500 soldiers and Poland will send 400 additional soldiers. Czechoslovakia has committed 100 elite counterterrorism troops. Romania, Italy, Greece, Spain, and Britain agreed to send an unspecified amount of additional troops. The US will deploy two additional Marine battalions and supporting elements this year and committed additional forces in 2009. Canada has committed to staying in Afghanistan through 2011 after threatening to withdraw if NATO members did not step up and shoulder their fair share of the fighting.
NATO has also secured supply line through Russian territory to resupply forces in Afghanistan after fears that the Pakistani supply lines through the Khyber Pass would be interrupted by Taliban attacks in Pakistan.
According to NATO statistics, “More than 75% of [Afghanistan] experienced less than 1 security incident per quarter per 10,000 people, supporting the assessment that the insurgency is not expanding across [Afghanistan]. 70% of the events occurred in 10% of the districts. The population of these districts is less than 6% of the population of [Afghanistan].” NATO attributes the increase in violence to increased operations by NATO forces.
Data provided to The Long War Journal by Vigilant Strategic Services Afghanistan (VSSA) shows that the attacks by the Taliban and “Anti-Government Elements” such as Gulbaddin Hekmatyer’s Hizb-I Islami Gulbuddin and other allied groups have increased from the first quarter of 2007 when compared to the first quarter of 2008. The eastern, southeastern, and southern provinces bordering Pakistan still remain the most violent areas in Afghanistan.
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