January 31, 2011
The security situation in Helmand Province was significantly different this month than it was when I last visited in January 2010. I was especially struck by the continued improvement in the performance and size of the Afghan security forces down south. In 2010, there were roughly 10,000 ISAF servicemen and 2,000 ANSF in Helmand Province, roughly a 5:1 ratio. Today, there are 30,000 ISAF and 30,000 ANSF – a 1:1 ratio with Afghan forces increasingly in the lead. Afghan flags fly across the province, schools are open, bazaars are thriving. There is a sense of progress.