Taliban Threat: Afghan and coalition forces recover 100 caches in 10 days

One cache recovered had rockets, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. PHOTO: AFP

KABUL: The expected Taliban summer surge seemed to have matured when six militants stormed the Intercontinental hotel late on Tuesday night. Further evidence to increased Taliban activity was discovered after Afghan security forces started discovering caches of weapons by the dozen over the past two weeks.

An ISAF release said that Afghan National Security Forces had been recovering caches in villages, thereby thwarting terrorist activity. “Taking weapons and communication equipment out of the hands of the enemy is one way to disrupt its network – and one many Afghan civilians are helping with,” said German Army Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, International Security Forces Afghanistan spokesman, during a press conference held on June 27.

The release said that the Afghan and coalition forces had seized more than 100 weapons caches in the past two weeks which were used to carry out insurgent attacks. For example, one cache contained more than 35 rockets, 24 mortars and 22 rocket propelled grenades.

Tips from Afghan citizens have aided forces in finding the caches, which is a sign of their trust in ANSF and their local police forces – the Afghan Local Police (ALP), said Blotz.

The ALP forces are selected by their community to provide local defence against insurgents and are trained by the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MOI). They are legitimate, enrolled members of the MOI.

“They are not militia. They are vetted, trained, and enrolled by the MOI, and, where available, wear a distinctive brown uniform,” said Blotz.

Role of ALP highlighted

The ALP has been instrumental in protecting the local populace. Today, there are 41 validated sites with more than 6,500 members, said Blotz.

“Afghan National Security Forces grow stronger every day,” said Dominic Medley, NATO senior civilian representative’s spokesman. “The transition is on track. In 2014, Afghanistan’s security will rest with the ANSF and that’s exactly where it should be.”

“The ANSF are showing more and more resolve,” stated Blotz. “We salute them for their resilience and commitment to their country.”

Increased Taliban activity

Traditionally, the summer months see increased insurgent activity. This was witnessed in the rising number of cross border Taliban attacks into Pakistan from Afghanistan.

The recent jailbreak where Taliban were able to aid the escape of up to 500 of their comrades is believed to have bolstered Taliban ranks.

The Afghan security forces now face a stiff challenge of tackling with the Taliban in wake of the US troop drawdown announced by US President Obama a few days ago which will see up to 30,000 troops being withdrawn by the end of 2012 and more territories being handed over to the Afghan security forces.

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