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Afghan Security Situation Continues to Show Improvement

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2004 – Citing "significantly fewer" incidents during Ramadan this year than in the past two years' observances, the security situation in Afghanistan continues to show improvement, a military spokesman said today in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

"This is an important indicator of progress," said Army Maj. Scott Nelson, spokesman for Combined Forces Command Afghanistan. "We attribute this improvement in large part to the strengthening of Afghanistan's own security forces, especially the Afghan National Army."

Nelson said the success of the Afghan National Army and "the very positive reaction of the people of Afghanistan to this professional, multi-ethnic force" has allowed coalition officials to accelerate the pace of ANA training. Twenty- six kandaks, or battalions, already have graduated from the Kabul Military Training Center, and three more are currently in training, Nelson said.

Afghan, coalition and NATO International Security Assistance Force soldiers continue conducting active operations, Nelson said, "to deny those opposing peace and security the ability to harm the people of Afghanistan." Twelve weapons caches have been uncovered since Nov. 9, he said: six in Kandahar province, two in Ghazni province, two in Oruzgan province, and one each in Parwan province near Bagram, and in Bamian province.

The two caches in Ghazni were significant finds, Nelson said. Included in these two caches were thousands of 12.7 mm and 14.5 mm rounds, 101 different types of mines, 83 rocket-propelled grenade rounds, 640 mortar rounds, and 120 107 millimeter rounds, along with several different types of weapon parts and systems.

"Finding these caches is important to security," Nelson said, "because these discoveries enable security forces to reduce the means that anti-coalition militia can use to target security forces and intimidate the Afghan people."

Noting that security within Afghanistan depends heavily on regional security, Nelson said coalition officials continue to be encouraged by Pakistani military operations in that country's border region near Afghanistan. "These operations are serving to improve security and promote stability in both nations and strongly signal Pakistan's willingness to assist in creating a more secure environment in this important region and the world," he said.

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