The temperature in Afghanistan is reaching highs in the 70s, a signal that spring has come. And in Afghanistan spring means wartime.
The International Committee of the Red Cross warned on Thursday that security was deteriorating across Afghanistan as militants flood the battlefield and conduct attacks in what could be the most defining spring fighting season of the nearly 12-year-old war.
This year is crucial for Afghanistan as the U.S.-led coalition is expected to hand over the lead for security in Afghanistan to the country's security forces sometime in the late spring. Foreign military forces are then expected to begin a massive withdrawal of forces that will culminate at the end of next year.
The coalition's top man in Afghanistan, Marine General Joseph Dunford, has said next year's plans for the end of combat operations (but not complete withdrawal of U.S. troops) are contingent on the performance of the Afghan army this fighting season. A full third of that army has to be replaced each year due to attrition and desertion. In the February issue of Reason Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) told us it would take less time to train a monkey to ride a bicycle than it has to prepare the Afghan army and police for a U.S. withdrawal.