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Monday, February 27, 2006

ANA and Coalition Troops

OSC-A Commander Meets with ANA and ANP Leaders
Story by Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Bates, Office of Security Cooperation - Afghanistan Public Affairs

KABUL, Afghanistan – The commander of the Office of Security Cooperation – Afghanistan traveled recently to Balkh and Nangarhar provinces for a firsthand look at the progress being made by Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police units.

Army Maj. Gen. Robert Durbin met Feb. 4 and Feb. 12 with members of the Afghan National Army’s 209th and 201st Corps and of the Afghan National Police force in Mazir-E-Sharif, Torkham and Jalalabad. At each site, he sought information on how the Coalition might better support the ANA and ANP, and urged military and police leaders to rise to recruiting, retention and communication challenges.

As long as ANA commanders recruit and retain the soldiers necessary to meet their requirements, he said, the Coalition will provide them with necessary equipment, weapons and ammunition.

“It’s my responsibility to equip the corps,” Durbin said. “When a corps has more men than equipment, then that’s my problem. However, if a corps has more equipment than men, then that equipment should be given to another corps that needs it.”

Durbin challenged ANA and ANP leaders to work together, and emphasized the importance of leadership.

"You need to facilitate cooperation and coordination between the ANA and ANP at all levels,” he said. “Your organizations have to share communications so they can react and reinforce each other quickly.”

While the international community can provide resources such as ammunition, weapons and vehicles, these alone will not make the Afghan security forces effective, Durbin said.

What will make your organizations effective is solid leadership,” he said.

The ANA and ANP already have made significant contributions to Afghanistan ’s stability and security, Durbin said.

"Thank you for your service, your sacrifice and your courage,” he told ANA and ANP members. “I have tremendous respect for you all.”

The OSC-A commander said he plans to visit ANA corps commanders and ANP training centers throughout Afghanistan on a regular basis.