Washington: Praising the Afghan security forces, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has said Taliban is trying to create havoc in the country as it is unable to regain any lost territory.

“The reality is the Taliban has not been able to regain any territory lost, and so they're resorting to these kinds of attacks to create havoc.

“There's no question it's of concern, it's dangerous and we've got to do everything we can do to try to prevent it,” referring to the recent uptake in violence inside Afghanistan, Panetta said.

“We have not and will not allow this kind of intimidation to undermine our efforts to build up the ANSF and to try to put it more and more in the lead.

“Our forces continue to partner closely in the field, and they have not let these incidents disrupt those operations,” Panetta said, noting that the recent incidents, which have now involved 31 Afghans, do not reflect the pride and dedication of the 350,000 soldiers and police of the Afghan national security forces.

Observing that the US is now taking the fight to the enemy, he said, when one is aggressive and conducting operations against them, the number of casualties are going to increase.

Panetta said the on-going security transition is in place inside Afghanistan.

“The transition has been and remains very much a successful operation. Over half of the Afghan population is protected by a predominantly Afghan force. We're in tranche three of the transition,” he said.

Noting that Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) continues to grow in size and capability, he said two-third of all of those in uniform defending Afghanistan are now Afghans.

“The ANSF remains on track to grow to 352,000 later this year. The growth of Afghan special operations and having that capability has allowed Afghans to plan, conduct and lead special operations missions every day and every night,” he said.

“A highly capable, professional ANSF has the potential, we believe, to deal a crippling and lasting blow to the insurgency.” he stressed.


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