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Stavridis expresses optimism on Afghanistan
confidence for Afghanistan’s future, U.S. Navy Adm. James
G. Stavridis also emphasized that the road ahead still poses
Stavridis, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe,
met here Jan. 18 with coalition leaders from Regional Command
“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.
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