PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commanding general of the 203rd Corps, Afghan National Army, discussed policies during a visit to Forward Operating Base Thunder in Gardez district, Dec. 17.
Afghan National Army Maj. Gen. Abdul Khaliq, and U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen discussed combined action in Regional Command-East during the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s visit to the FOB.
Since the implementation of the combined RC-East Tactical Operations Center in mid-October, Afghan National Security Forces, which includes the army, police and border police, have improved their battle-space command and control.
The new way of operating has resulted in less civilian casualties and collateral damage, and increased effectiveness against enemy attacks, Khaliq said.
Mullen was impressed with the news.
“This is exciting for me, as I can see how excited your staff is (about) the changes that have taken place here in the past six weeks,” Mullen said.
The 203rd Corps commander walked the Navy admiral through the tactical operations center, administrative logistics operations command and situational awareness room during the visit, showing the chairman how the ANSF and their U.S. and Coalition advisors work side-by-side to direct operations such as civil affairs, logistics, communications and combat operations.
The continued expansion of the national security force’s capabilities would support future missions, including providing security for the Parliamentary elections in 2010, Khaliq said.
During the visit, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Kurt Fuller, deputy commanding general of both the 203rd Corps and CJTF-82, shared his views for the future of RC-East combined action.
“We can’t help but (to) be optimistic,” Fuller said. “There are problems, but it’s nothing that cannot be fixed. We have good soldiers – they are the Afghan heroes.”
Mullen expressed his appreciation for the hard work of the Afghan forces and that recruiting additional soldiers. He said retaining those dedicated to the mission remains critical to ensuring national security. Currently, about 9,800 soldiers serve in the 203rd Corps.
“I affirm our commitment to the Afghan people to provide security for your people,” Mullen said. “It is my hope that this partnership lasts many, many decades to establish a stable and secure future for Afghanistan. I do not underestimate the challenges. We will be with you to post security to set a much better way of life for the Afghan people.”
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