Soldiers in Kandahar Draw Praise, Gratitude From Gates

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HOWZ‑E MADAD, Afghanistan, Dec. 8, 2010 — The sol­diers of the 101st Air­borne Division’s 2nd Brigade Com­bat Team in Afghanistan’s Kan­da­har province are serv­ing at “the tip of the spear” in the war effort, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates said here today.
Gates con­tin­ued a series of troop vis­its across Afghanistan, as he pre­sent­ed awards, and met with and thanked mil­i­tary mem­bers for their ser­vice.

“I want to thank you for sign­ing up to be in the mil­i­tary at a time when you knew you’d be at war,” the sec­re­tary told the hun­dreds of sol­diers on hand to greet him here. Mil­i­tary ser­vice always entails sac­ri­fices, Gates not­ed, adding that those sac­ri­fices are tougher dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son. As he has in three oth­er troop vis­its he has made in Afghanistan over the last two days, Gates asked the sol­diers here to extend his per­son­al grat­i­tude to their fam­i­lies for the sac­ri­fices they’re mak­ing. “You guys here are at the tip of the spear of the cam­paign of the last sev­er­al months,” Gates said. “It is a cam­paign in which you have tak­en new ter­ri­to­ry, cleared it, secured it and held it, and you are tying togeth­er the bat­tle spaces in south­east­ern and south­west­ern Afghanistan. 

“This is a crit­i­cal part of our strat­e­gy and of the cur­rent cam­paign,” he con­tin­ued, “and you have been enor­mous­ly suc­cess­ful.” Gates said get­ting ser­vice­mem­bers what they need to accom­plish their mis­sions and come home safe­ly has been his top pri­or­i­ty since tak­ing office, and that he feels per­son­al­ly respon­si­ble for each one of them. 

“The sac­ri­fice, the hard­ship and the loss­es that you take affect me more than you can pos­si­bly imag­ine,” he said, “and I just want­ed, again, to thank you for your ser­vice.” The 2nd Brigade sol­diers have been here for more than six months as the lead surge ele­ment in the Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force’s Region­al Com­mand South. As Gates posed for pic­tures with all of the sol­diers on hand to greet him and pre­sent­ed them with his com­mem­o­ra­tive sec­re­tary of defense coin, Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez, com­man­der of Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand, met with reporters along with Army Col. Art Kan­dar­i­an, the brigade’s commander. 

Kan­dar­i­an said his sol­diers have been work­ing close­ly with Afghan sol­diers and police in Kandahar’s May­wand and Zhari dis­tricts. In Sep­tem­ber, he said, they began Oper­a­tion Drag­on Strike, a series of part­nered attacks on insur­gent safe havens in the Zhari district. 

“The chal­lenge that we had here, of course, was last year. There was only one brigade of coali­tion troops in this area, and all the sur­round­ing areas and envi­rons around Kan­da­har City were infest­ed with the ene­my,” Rodriguez explained. “[Kan­dar­i­an] talked about one part of the job that he has done, but there’s been four dis­tricts around Kan­da­har City that have been cleaned out. We con­tin­ue to do some clear­ing, but already the ‘build’ [phase] is start­ing to happen.” 

With a great deal of help from Afghan police and sol­diers, the envi­ron­ment around Kan­da­har City has changed com­plete­ly in the past year, and secu­ri­ty has improved inside the city, Rodriguez added 

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

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →