Stavridis Expresses Optimism on Afghanistan

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan, Jan. 20, 2011 — While express­ing con­fi­dence for Afghanistan’s future, U.S. Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis also empha­sized that the road ahead still pos­es chal­lenges.
Stavridis, NATO’s supreme allied com­man­der for Europe, met here Jan. 18 with coali­tion lead­ers from Region­al Com­mand South­west.

“I’m cau­tious­ly opti­mistic about the future of Afghanistan,” Stavridis said. “2011 is going to be a tough year. There’s going to be com­bat, we’re going to take loss­es, but it will be a year in which we start a tran­si­tion process that will con­clude in 2014 with Afghan-led oper­a­tions all over Afghanistan. I’m con­fi­dent we’re going to suc­ceed here.”

The admi­ral cit­ed var­i­ous chal­lenges the NATO-led Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force must face in Afghanistan.

“I think it’s a com­bi­na­tion of a resilient ene­my [and] a com­bi­na­tion of work­ing with the civil­ian pop­u­la­tion that faces cor­rup­tion and gov­er­nance chal­lenges,” he said. “But I don’t see any chal­lenge here in Afghanistan that we can’t over­come by train­ing the Afghan secu­ri­ty forces, pro­tect­ing the peo­ple of Afghanistan, work­ing close­ly with our friends and allies, tak­ing an inter­a­gency approach and doing exact­ly what I’m doing right now — strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tions [and] telling the sto­ry — because it will be a sto­ry of suc­cess over time in Afghanistan.”

Stavridis’ vis­it here was part of a three-day trip to Afghanistan that includ­ed meet­ings in the Afghan cap­i­tal of Kab­ul with Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, com­man­der of ISAF and U.S. forces, and Army Lt. Gen. David M. Rodriguez, who leads ISAF Joint Com­mand. Adm. Giampao­lo DiPao­la of the Ital­ian navy, NATO chief of mil­i­tary mis­sions, and ambas­sadors from Den­mark, Italy, Roma­nia and Poland accom­pa­nied him on the trip.

Stavridis received updates on oper­a­tions in Hel­mand and Nim­roz provinces, progress in Mar­ja and the con­tin­u­ing fight against the Tal­iban in San­gin.

He also was briefed on the sta­tus of the Afghan army’s 215th Corps and received an overview of the work done by the provin­cial recon­struc­tion team in Hel­mand province. The admi­ral also toured the Joint Secu­ri­ty Acad­e­my South­west, an Afghan secu­ri­ty forces train­ing facil­i­ty here.

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

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