Image copyright (Cpl. Joshua Young / Marine Corps)
By Jeff Schogol
Copyright Military Times
The former top commanders of NATO troops in southwestern Afghanistan have shed light on troubling reports that emerged late last year in Sangin, a hard-fought district in Helmand province where Afghan security forces purportedly handed over security checkpoints to the Taliban.
Speaking Thursday at the Pentagon, Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Walter “Lee” Miller Jr. and British Brigadier Paul A.E. Nanson indicated that although the Afghans lost control of some checkpoints they’ve been successful in taking them back.
“In the early stages of a number of the operations up there, the Taliban were able to amass significant strength to overmatch the checkpoints and take checkpoints — mostly, I have to say, Afghan Local Police checkpoints,” said Nanson, who served as Miller’s No. 2 at Regional Command Southwest throughout 2013. “That was unfortunate; however, the positive was that the [Afghan National Security Forces] reacted quickly and particularly well, and every time retook the checkpoints within a matter of three or four hours.”
Many times, he added, NATO commanders were unaware checkpoints had fallen to the Taliban. As NATO troops continue to withdraw from Afghanistan, they’re receiving less information about the situation on the ground, he said.