Afghan Minister of Defense Bismullah Khan Mohammadi and Afghan Minister of Interior Mujtaba Patang hosted U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. James Miller in the fourth session of the U.S.-Afghanistan Security Consultations Forum (SCF) at the Ministry of Defense in Kabul, Afghanistan. Under Secretary Miller met with the ministers, joined by other senior defense officials from both countries. They discussed long-term defense cooperation between the two countries, reaffirmed the importance of the strategic partnership, and addressed issues of immediate importance.
The meetings included a review of security gains across Afghanistan and progress made towards transition of lead security responsibility to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Under Secretary Miller and the ministers noted the accomplishments in the provinces and districts included in the first three tranches of transition. Approximately 75 percent of the Afghan population now lives in areas where Afghan forces are assuming the lead for security. The ANSF are successfully providing effective security in these transitioning areas, and demonstrating their readiness for additional responsibilities when the fourth tranche of transition is announced. The Afghans presented their views on enemy capabilities and intention, the growth and future strength of the ANSF, and the ongoing efforts to accelerate Afghan enabling capabilities in command and control, maneuver, special operations forces, counter-IED, engineering, intelligence, airpower, fire support, and logistics.
The talks also identified three areas for close cooperation in future months. First, after hearing from key Afghan intelligence experts, Under Secretary Miller and the ministers agreed to update a combined assessment of security threats to Afghanistan. Second, they agreed to use this combined threat assessment to inform consideration of potential adjustments to plans for the future composition of the ANSF. Finally, they agreed to continue collaboration to accelerate the fielding of key combat enablers for the ANSF. They agreed to follow up on these three initiatives at the next meeting of the security consultations forum.
The U.S.-Afghanistan Security Consultations Forum serves as an effective venue for a bilateral strategic review of campaign progress and plans for the future. Under Secretary Miller and the ministers agreed to continue holding the forum every six months, with the next meeting convening in Washington, D.C. in the spring of 2013.