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Michele Flournoy: “I'm Cautiously Optimistic“ About Success in Afghanistan

Michele Flournoy: “I'm Cautiously Optimistic“ About Success in Afghanistan - top government contractors - best government contracting event
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Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy told the House Armed Services committee yesterday that she is “cautiously optimistic“ about success for coalition forces in Afghanistan.

“The evidence suggests that our shift in approach is beginning to produce results,” she testified. “The insurgency is losing momentum.  And though real challenges and risks remain, we see a number of positive trends.”

Flournoy told lawmakers that, out of 121 key regions of Afghanistan surveyed by the NATO-led coalition in December, 60 were sympathetic or neutral to the Afghan government, climbing to 73 districts by March.

Her optimism was tempered with the sober realities of the war in Afghanistan. “I don’t want to suggest that achieving success in Afghanistan will be simple or easy,” she clarified. “Inevitably, we will face challenges, possibly setbacks, even as we achieve successes.  We need to recognize that things may get harder before they get better.”

Lieutenant General John Paxton, chief of operations for the senior U.S. military command, also testified, describing Kandahar as “the real prize” of southern Afghanistan, and said that coalition forces are working with Afghan forces to secure the region.

The push to take Kandahar has been code-named “Operation Hamkari,” Dari for “cooperation,“  but General Paxton said this offensive will not follow the same pattern as earlier operations in Marjah.  “Hamkari is not about highly kinetic military operations. It is about applying the combined resources of the Afghan National Army, the Afghan National Police and ISAF, in support of the governor, to improve security – both in the city and in the populated environs.”

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