Obama: ‘Tough Slog’ Remains Ahead in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2010 — “A very tough fight” remains in Afghanistan that will demand more hard work and sac­ri­fice, Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma acknowl­edged today while vis­it­ing Fort Bliss, Texas, to thank troops there for advanc­ing the mis­sion in Iraq.

“It is going to be a tough slog” in Afghanistan, Oba­ma told 1st Armored Divi­sion “Old Iron­sides” sol­diers just returned from Iraq, where the U.S. com­bat mis­sion offi­cial­ly ends tomor­row.

“A lot of fam­i­lies have been touched by the war in Iraq. A lot of fam­i­lies are now being touched in Afghanistan,” he said. “We’ve seen casu­al­ties go up because we’re tak­ing the fight to al-Qai­da and the Tal­iban and their allies.”

Oba­ma empha­sized the government’s com­mit­ment to pre­vent anoth­er 9/11-style attack from strik­ing the U.S. home­land. “We are going to go after those who per­pe­trat­ed that crime, and we are going to make sure that they do not have safe haven,” he said.

The pres­i­dent expressed con­fi­dence that the prop­er lead­er­ship and troop strength on the ground will ensure the suc­cess of the U.S. strat­e­gy in Afghanistan. “Now, under the com­mand of [Army] Gen­er­al [David H.] Petraeus, we have the troops who are there in a posi­tion to start tak­ing the fight to the ter­ror­ists,” he said.

“That’s going to mean some casu­al­ties, and it’s going to mean some heart­break,” the pres­i­dent said. “But the one thing that I know from all of you is that when we put our minds to it, we get things done and we’re will­ing to make some sac­ri­fices on behalf of our secu­ri­ty here at home.”

Fort Bliss cur­rent­ly has five units sup­port­ing Oper­a­tion Endur­ing Free­dom in Afghanistan: 31st Com­bat Sup­port Hos­pi­tal; 3rd Bat­tal­ion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Reg­i­ment; 202nd Mil­i­tary Police Com­pa­ny; 377th Trans­porta­tion Com­pa­ny; and the 16th Mobile Pub­lic Affairs Detach­ment.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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