General: Insurgent Momentum Checked

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KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 5 (UPI) — The momentum of insurgents in Afghanistan has been checked while security in key districts is on the increase, Maj. Gen. James Terry said from his command.

Briefing reporters at the Pentagon on the progress in the Afghan war through a video teleconference, the commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force’s Regional Command South said, “I think most notable is that insurgent momentum has been put in check and we are increasing the security in the key districts ….”

The general said he is seeing Afghan leaders “starting to step up and lead throughout Regional Command South.”

He said the level of violence has “decreased slightly” in the current fighting season compared to last year.

He said Afghan leadership throughout Kandahar, Uruzgan, Zabul and Day Kundi provinces are stepping up to improve conditions in their areas.

“The net result is not only removing lethal material and leadership from the battlefield, but also greatly impacting the insurgents’ ability to acquire replacement material.”

Terry said the Afghans are increasingly taking responsibility for security in their villages.

He warned that despite the latest changes, the insurgents will not “give up easily,” noting they are shifting tactics towards intimidation of the population and government officials.

“They’re doing this through physical harm, murder, in some cases, and complex attacks,” he said. “These complex attacks are being countered by our Afghan national security force partners. … The result has been tactical and moral defeat for the insurgents.”

Coalition forces will continue to facilitate the transition of Afghans to the forefront of security efforts, he said, referring to withdrawal of foreign forces under a plan for Afghan security forces to assume security responsibility throughout the country by the end of 2014.

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