Maj. Gen. Scaparrotti visits Torkham Gate Keepers

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Written by U.S. Army Sgt. Tracy J. Smith Sunday, 03 January 2010 21:29

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Adam W. Pledger, Troop A, 1st Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment, and a resident of Summerville, Ga., is commended by Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, the Combined Joint Task Force 82 commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas R. Capel, during a surprise visit to the over watch of what Scaparotti designates a security priority. Pledger and four other Soldiers serving in the vital Kyber Pass border crossing were presented the general’s coin for excellence. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Tracy J. Smith, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs) NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan– Combined Joint Task Force 82 Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, and CJTF-82’s Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas R. Capel, along with embassy representatives, made a surprise holiday visit to the Soldiers, Airmen and contractors of Forward Operating Base Torkham, Dec. 24.

The general came to Nangarhar province to personally thank the committed forces for their dedication in protecting and patrolling what Scaparrotti calls his ”primary objective.”

The small border crossing town of Torkham, nestled in the Kyber Pass mountain range, is host to Afghanistan and Pakistan’s busiest customs point, and one of the most dangerous.

“This is the major entry way into Afghanistan, yet 40 percent of the countries illicit trade comes through this place,” said Scaparrotti.

Scaparrotti applauded the warriors for their commitment in the security of this area and shared his vision of reinforcing that same level of commitment with Afghanistan and Pakistan as the coalition begins to give the Afghanistan autonomy in its own security.  

In recent months the general has visited with both embassies to discuss improving customs and security and to introduce the use of biometrics (electronic documentation and cataloging) to curb the flow of illicit trafficking through the Kyber Pass and to give the Afghan National Security Forces and their Pakistan border patrol partners a non-lethal mechanism for sustained security.  

“You have made a difference for this country and you will make an immediate one for their prosperity, their livelihood [and] their ability to have a stable economy,” Scaparrotti said. “My command sergeant major and I thank you for being here.  I am proud to have the 48th here with us in [Regional Command] East.” 

 

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class LaMont James (left), security patrol team leader and platoon sergeant for 4th platoon, Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment and resident of Brinkley, Ark., shares Christmas conversation with U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, the Combined Joint Task Force 82 commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas R. Capel, during a surprise visit to Torkham in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Tracy J. Smith, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)