During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, head of Central Command Gen. David Petraeus and Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy declared a message of slow, but progressive, military success in Afghanistan, despite aggressive questioning from Senate members.
Flournoy addressed the evidence of progress in the U.S. Afghan efforts. She said: “So far, we believe we have been making gradual but important progress.” She explained that the coalition is fighting the insurgency more effectively, and they are beginning to lose momentum, despite their recent attacks. They have been able to determine that their insurgence presence is beginning to weaken.
Petraeus exhibited a similar sense of confidence in U.S. military progress. Following Sen. John McCain’s remarks on the concern about the withdrawal of forces before Afghan governance can be built, Petraeus explained progress in increasing the size and capability of the Afghan security forces has allowed for the determination the forces are now on track to achieve their targeted objectives by the end of the year.
“Considerable progress is made in getting the concepts right for development of the ANSF and also the development of the structures needed to implement those concepts,” he said.
Chairman Sen. Carl Levin and McCain questioned Petraeus on his stance of the set timeline Obama put in place for troops in Afghanistan. Petraeus responded they are supporting the projection based on the accomplishments they have seen in Afghanistan. He also explained the timeline would require a greater sense of urgency.
The hearing was postponed and will continue tomorrow.