KABUL, Afghanistan (Sept. 18, 2012) — Recent media coverage regarding a change in ISAF’s model of Security Force Assistance (SFA) to the Afghan National Security Forces is not accurate. ISAF remains absolutely committed to partnering with, training, advising and assisting our ANSF counterparts. The ISAF SFA model is focused at the battalion level and above, with exceptions approved by senior commanders. Partnering occurs at all levels, from Platoon to Corps. This has not changed.
In response to elevated threat levels resulting from the “Innocence of Muslims” video, ISAF has taken some prudent, but temporary [emphasis added], measures to reduce our profile and vulnerability to civil disturbances or insider attacks. This means that in some local instances, operational tempo has been reduced, or force protection has been increased. These actions balance the tension of the recent video with force protection, while maintaining the momentum of the campaign.
Go read the whole thing. Then, give me your assessment– do you think this is really a “temporary” change, or have several months of green-on-blue hits on top of the latest turmoil actually, plus the withdrawal timeline forced a strategic change? Because the whole thing hinged on the ability of ISAF and Afghan forces to eat, sleep, live, patrol and fight together, and trust each other, from “Platoon to Corps.” If the Taliban can succeed in driving a permanent wedge between ISAF and the ANSF, then, well, we might need to face some ugly facts.Can we turn it around before the end of 2014? Or have the ANSF and the Afghan population made up their mind on who will be in charge after we leave?
What say you?