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Jun. 30, 2015  War on Terror   Transformation   News Products   Press Resources   Images   Websites   Contact Us 
Five Years Afghanistan Report
Capt. Jesse Cornelius, agriculture officer for the 155th Brigade Combat Team, stops by a small marketplace to check the quality and price of the vegetables and chickens in Dunis, Iraq, on May 19, 2005.  Cornelius is the head of Amber Waves, which is to enhance the economy of Iraq by improving agriculture in the areas of Karbalah, Najaf and Babil. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Reynaldo Ramon   Agriculture has long been a mainstay of the Afghanistan economy, and it is estimated that 70 percent of the population makes its living off the land. Opium production remains a problem, but in areas where infrastructure and security has been improved—and where alternative-livelihood programs have been initiated—there has tended to be a decline in opium production.
 • There have been more than 28,000 micro-loans given out for agricultural activities.
 • At least 140 farm markets have been constructed.
 • Agricultural programs to increase farming efficiency now extend to more than 1 million farmers.
 • At least 2.5 million Afghans have benefited from irrigation and road projects linking farms to market.
 • Irrigation rehabilitation has improved water supplies for more than 1 million acres—approximately 10 percent of nationwide farmland.
 • More than 210 irrigation structures have been built and nearly 4,500 kilometers of canals cleaned.
 • Since 2004, there has been a 40 percent increase in cereal production, and a 46 percent increase in wheat production.
 • Almost 4,000 acres of fruit and nut orchards have been planted in the eastern region.
 • More than 19,000 women have been trained in improved poultry management..
 • At least 14 million head of cattle have been vaccinated or treated.
 • For every $1 USAID has invested in agriculture, there has been an $11 return.
 • Only 8 percent of the population makes its living from the opium trade.
Afghan National Police demonstrate their new riot gear and riot control training during the opening ceremony for a new District Police Training Center at Forward Operations Base Lighting in Gardez, Afghanistan, July 2, 2006. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher S. Barnhart   There is no doubt that security continues to be a major challenge. Remnants of the former Taliban regime and elements of al-Qaeda continue to try to derail progress throughout the country. But just five years ago, there was no formalized rule of law; there was no respected national army; there was no national police force. The nation had been wracked by war for nearly 30 years—and was a pariah from the international community. Only three states were willing to accord the government diplomatic recognition—and there was little order within Afghanistan. The Taliban harbored and supported al-Qaeda, the world’s most deadly terrorist organization
 • Afghanistan is no longer an open sanctuary for al-Qaeda.
 • The Afghan National Army (ANA) currently has more than 30,000 trained and equipped troops; the Afghan National Police has more than 46,000 trained and equipped forces. Approximately 4,000 Afghan security forces are still in training.
 • The ANA is growing at a rate of approximately 1,000 a month, and the force may increase to 70,000.
 • The ANA has successfully conducted independent combat operations and continues to improve its combat capabilities.
 • The ANA is composed of five corps and ten brigades. It is an infantry-centric force focused on counterinsurgency capability.
 • After the Taliban fell, the private militias of tribal chief and “warlords” were placed under the control of the Ministry of Defense—then disarmed and demobilized.
 • There are 21,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan; there were less than 10,000 in 2002; and approximately 13,000 in 2003; and similar numbers to present in 2004 and 2005.
 • There are 40 nations with troops on the ground in Afghanistan, and approximately 40,000 international troops in country.
 • For the first time in its history, NATO forces are deployed beyond their traditional European borders.
 • NATO’s command in Afghanistan—the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)—expanded in July to cover Afghanistan’s southern provinces.
 • The Operation Enduring Freedom Coalition transferred authority for all security operations to NATO/ISAF on Oct. 5. This will improve command and control and coordination within Afghanistan.
 • There are 24 Provisional Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) controlled by NATO operating throughout the nation. These entities, a mixture of military and civilians, are involved in infrastructure improvement.

While it has become fashionable in some circles to call Afghanistan a forgotten war, or to say the United States has lost its focus, the facts belie the myths. To be sure, no one doubts that great obstacles still exist; the recent up-tick in violence reiterates that the enemies of a stable, peaceful Afghanistan remain persistent and motivated.

Even so, the Afghan people—with strong support from free nations across the globe—are building a future they can be proud of: secure and prosperous at home, and respected abroad.

 — OSD Writers Group

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