The Obama administration says the recently launched new approach to the Afghan war has seen success, but adds many challenges remain in defeating insurgents and winning over the support of the Afghan people.
The fundamental shift in the coalition’s approach to the war in Afghanistan “has been extremely successful,” according to U.S. Under Secretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy. “Compared to a year ago," she said, "Afghans today report they are far more optimistic about the future and have far more confidence in our ability to prevail over the Taliban and other violent extremists.”
Flournoy's comments came in testimony Monday before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee.
“Our adversaries are cunning, they are adaptable, they are tenacious and we will need to continually reaffirm our commitment and refine our tactics in response” Flournoy told the lawmakers.
“I don’t want to suggest that achieving success will be simple or easy – far from it – we have many challenges as we move forward”, Flourney said. “We need to prepare for the possibility that things may get harder before they get better.”
The official said she is “cautiously optimistic” the coalition objectives will be met in Afghanistan.
Last week, President Obama ordered the first combat deployments of his presidency, authorizing an additional 17,000 U.S. troops "to stabilize a deteriorating situation" in Afghanistan.
The new deployments, to begin in May, will increase the U.S. force in Afghanistan by nearly 50 percent, bringing it to 55,000 by mid-summer, along with 32,000 non-U.S. NATO troops.
The forces are targeting the insurgency, securing key population centers and increasing the training of Afghan security forces.