press briefing late Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesman acknowledged that yesterday was a difficult day for U.S. forces in Afghanistan and said that the warmer months ahead can only be expected to bring more attacks on American troops.
“Yesterday was -- and today, tough day. There's no question about that,” said Navy Capt. John Kirby. “And it's not uncommon that in the warm months of the year, violence will increase there in Afghanistan."
"Part of that is because of the weather. Part of it is because ISAF and coalition forces are being more aggressive. They're out and about much more, particularly in the south. So there -- they have occasion to be in more contact with or more of a problem for the enemy and therefore eliciting some of these attacks.”
ISAF stands for International Security Assistance Force, which is the NATO arm whose primary mission is to train Afghan National Security Forces and assist in rebuilding the Afghan government.
Kirby also said that it is still unclear if the individuals responsible for the death Tuesday of 20-year-old Army Pfc. Jarrod Lallier were actually members of the Afghan police or simply wearing the uniforms of that force.
“We do believe that it was at least facilitated -- potentially facilitated by an individual dressed in an Afghan National Police uniform,” the Navy captain said. “But again, details are very sketchy right now. ISAF is certainly looking into this.”
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in the same briefing that he believes Afghan forces in concert with ISAF will be able to handle internal terrorist threats after the planned U.S. withdrawal in 2014.
“As we transition to a new phase in our relationship with Afghanistan, we believe that the Afghans themselves, working with ISAF countries that could maintain a presence beyond 2014, are going to be able to effectively suppress this threat,” Little said. “Al-Qaida should take no comfort in 2014 as an end date for the Lisbon transition. [This] will be a continuing priority and focus of the United States and our allies, to include Afghanistan. They will continue to see pressure brought to bear against them. That pressure is happening now, and it will continue in the future.”
You can read more here or watch the entire briefing here.