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Afghans get Danish area early

The Afghan National Army (ANA) will have the responsibility for the Danish area of Afghanistan from autumn 2013 at the latest.

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Denmark is to hand over responsibility for security in the area in Helmand that it controls to the ANA in 2013 in order to give Afghan forces the best opportunity to shoulder the task before Danish and international battle troops are withdrawn at the end of 2014.

“The ANA is well on its way and as a result we will begin transferring responsibility for our area to the Afghan army during the upcoming Ramadan,” Major Uffe Pedersen, 2nd in Command of the British battle group in which the 650 Danish officers and men are serving, tells Information.

This year, Ramadan begins on or around the 20th of July. It is traditionally a time when the Taleban is less active.

The transfer of security in the Danish operational area is taking place a year earlier than expected as part of a strategy developed by NATO’s C-in-C Afghanistan, U.S. Gen. John Allen.

Originally, NATO had envisaged first transferring responsibility for the areas easiest to control, and then take the more difficult regions later. But Allen has reversed the plan in order to make sure that the ANA can manage the task before most of the 130,000 ISAF forces withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

“The Afghans must get into the battle, and the sooner that happens the greater our ability to help them while we still have time and firepower,” Allen has previously told the media.

Pederen says that giving the ANA more responsibility seems to work.

“Our experience is that the Afghans would very much like to have responsibility and that they improve when they get it. We expect the Afghan army and police force to be able to stand alone in our area in a year’s time or in Spring 2013 at the latest,” Pedersen tells Information.

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