Every military brief starts with one, even four-star generals when they brief Congress on progress in Afghanistan. Here is Gen. David Petraeus’ “bottom line up front” for the Senate Armed Services Committee:
“As a bottom line up front, it is ISAF’s assessment that the momentum achieved by the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2005 has been arrested in much of the country and reversed in a number of important areas. However, while the security progress achieved over the past year is significant, it is also fragile and reversible. Moreover, it is clear that much difficult work lies ahead with our Afghan partners to solidify and expand our gains in the face of the expected Taliban spring offensive. Nonetheless, the hard-fought achievements in 2010 and early 2011 have enabled the Joint Afghan-NATO Transition Board to recommend initiation this spring of transition to Afghan lead in several provinces. The achievements of the past year are also very important as I prepare to provide options and a recommendation to President Obama for commencement of the drawdown of the US surge forces in July. Of note, as well, the progress achieved has put us on the right azimuth to accomplish the objective agreed upon at last November’s Lisbon Summit, that of Afghan forces in the lead throughout the country by the end of 2014.”
OK, time to move along. No need to spend your morning watching CSPAN online. OK, for those fast burners here is the link for the briefing. Cue the senators and their military liaison’s questions.