Initially Operation Enduring Freedom focused on removing Taliban and al Qaeda remnants and hunting down terrorists.
• Today the Coalition has shifted to a broader-based approach that focuses on creating conditions in Afghanistan to reject terrorists and their activities outright.
Three years ago, the Taliban were still ruling Afghanistan and al Qaeda was still very active in the country. Tomorrow Afghans will cast their votes in democratic presidential elections.
• Eighteen candidates are vying for the Afghan presidency. The field is representative of all ethnic groups and constituencies in the country.
• More than 10 million Afghans have registered to vote.
• More than 40 percent of the registered voters are women.
• Next spring Afghans will elect members of a new Parliament.
Conditions around Afghanistan demonstrate the country’s progress.
• The economy is growing at the rate of 20 percent a year.
• More than 5 million children are in school this year compared to just 1 million last year.
• The portion of the “Ring Road” that links Kabul to Kandahar is completed and construction is continuing from Kandahar to Herat.
• More than 3 million refugees have returned to Afghanistan since 2002.
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) are operating throughout Iraq, allowing the Afghan government to expand reconstruction, outreach efforts and security.
• PRTs are small groups of civilian and military personnel working in Afghanistan’s provinces.
• There are 19 provincial reconstruction teams in Afghanistan (14 U.S. and five NATO). A year ago there were four.
Afghanistan’s security structure is growing.
• About 15,000 soldiers serve in the Afghan National Army. The ANA is a highly professional, multi-ethnic force, which is rapidly becoming a pillar of the country’s security.
• ANA soldiers have been deployed alongside Coalition force to prepare for the election.
• Approximately 25,000 police have been trained.
• The United States has developed an integrated program to address the country’s drug trade. The program complements the United Kingdom’s efforts - the lead nation for counter-narcotics assistance to Afghanistan.
Afghan security forces are working side by side with Coalition forces to hunt down and remove terrorists and confront the forces of lawlessness.
• Success in Afghanistan has deprived al Qaeda of a sanctuary there.