Defense

June 19, 2013

Afghan forces take security lead for entire nation

Afghans now are in the lead for security throughout their country, and this inflection point points the way toward a stable nation, the commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan said June 18.

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. told Pentagon reporters via a phone hook-up from the Afghan capital of Kabul that the nature of the relationship between Afghanistan and NATO has changed.

Today’s achievement of “Milestone 2013” is a long-anticipated development, the general said. U.S., NATO and partner nations have carried the security burden in Afghanistan since 2001. Behind that shield, the Afghan government recruited, equipped and trained soldiers and police to take the security responsibility. Afghan forces took the security job in more and more of the country until today, when they assumed the lead for combat operations throughout the country.

“This is a source of great pride for the Afghan people and the Afghan security forces, and, frankly, it’s also a great source of pride for members of the coalition,” Dunford said.

American, NATO and partner nations made this day possible, and wounded warriors from the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy were present as Afghan President Hamid Karzai and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen made the announcement this morning.

The change means U.S., NATO and coalition troops are no longer conducting unilateral operations. There are exceptions, however. NATO-commanded forces do conduct security operations, route clearance operations and operations conducted for retrograde movements, Dunford said. “The only operations that are being planned and conducted against the enemy are being conducted with the Afghans in the lead,” he said.

“As we mark Milestone 2013, I’m confident in the overall direction of the campaign,” Dunford said. “I believe the Afghans are, in fact, ready to take the lead right now. I believe they’ll be able to run and secure the elections in 2014. And I believe we’ll be ready to effect full transition in December of 2014.”

Sustaining Afghan progress is the focus now, he said. Command and control, air support, intelligence and equipment and instruction for countering improvised explosive devices are crucial capabilities for the Afghan national security forces.

“We’re working hard to mature the systems, the processes and institutions that are going to allow the Afghans to become fully self-reliant in the days ahead,” Dunford said.

The key to the future is integrating the capabilities of the Afghan army and police across the spectrum, the general said.

The way ahead is charted. Through the end of 2014, coalition forces will continue to work to train, advise and assist Afghan forces. Coalition forces will continue to provide support, including limited medical evacuation for forces and will continue to train and mentor leaders and units.

The Afghan military must medevac their wounded using their own assets. The Afghan air force has Mi-17 helicopters and ground evacuation capabilities. The service is getting smaller cargo-style aircraft that could also help transport wounded troops.

The Afghan military has paid a price for the security lead. In some weeks, officials said, Afghan forces lose between 100 and 120 troops, and NATO and Afghan forces are examining the situation. IEDs cause the greatest number of casualties, and Afghan forces are working to use counter-IED equipment and to learn the tactics, techniques and procedures to minimize casualties.

 

Hagel hails milestone in Afghanistan security

Praising the Afghan people for their determination and noting the sacrifices that led to achievement of the milestone, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel June 18 praised the formal transfer of security lead throughout Afghanistan to Afghan national security forces.

“This critical milestone is a tribute to the determination of the people of Afghanistan to take responsibility for their country’s future, and it was made possible by heavy sacrifices on the part of the United States, coalition partners, and the Afghan forces,” the secretary said in a statement.

Hagel express his appreciation for the leadership of Afghan President Hamid Karzai in helping to oversee the transition, and he commended NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, for their “tireless efforts.”

“Today is a day for all Americans to take pride in the hard work our service members and their civilian counterparts are performing every day in Afghanistan,” the secretary said. “This achievement keeps us and our coalition partners on track to bring our combat mission to a close next year and transition to a noncombat train, advise and assist mission that will help ensure Afghans can sustain security into the future.”

 

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines September 15, 2014

News: Navy identifies pilot presumed dead in crash - A Navy fighter pilot presumed dead after two fighter jets crashed in the far western Pacific Ocean has been identified.   Business: Boeing eyes 737-700 solution for new JSTARS - Boeing is officially planning a variant of its 737-700 commercial jetliner as a competitor for the Air Force’s...
 
 

News Briefs September 15, 2014

Australia contributing planes for anti-IS campaign Australia is preparing to contribute 600 troops and up to 10 military aircraft to the increasingly aggressive campaign against the Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Sept. 14. Abbott said Australia was responding to a formal request from the United States for specific...
 
 
Courtesy graphic

Lockheed Martin conducts flight tests of aircraft laser turret for DARPA

AFRL photograph The Aero-adaptive Aero-optic Beam Control turret that Lockheed Martin is developing for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Air Force Research Laboratory has completed initial flight testing. T...
 

 

Lockheed Martin advances live, virtual, constructive training in flight test

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jvXmOW8L3mU Lockheed Martin successfully tested a new solution for integrated live, virtual and constructive training during a flight demonstration at the company’s Aeronautics facility in Fort Worth, Texas. During the flight test, a pilot flying in a live F-16 engaged in a synthetic training exercise with a pilot flying as wing...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover arrives at Martian mountain

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has reached the Red Planet’s Mount Sharp, a Mount-Rainier-size mountain at the center of the vast Gale Crater and the rover mission’s long-term prime destination. “Curiosity n...
 
 

Raytheon begins full rate production on TALON Laser Guided Rockets

Under a $117 million contract awarded to Raytheon, Raytheon Missile Systems has begun production of the TALON Laser Guided Rocket. In 2013, the Armed Forces General Headquarters of the United Arab Emirates awarded Tawazun a contract to procure the TALON Laser Guided Rocket. “Full rate production of the TALON LGR is a significant milestone for...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>