Wednesday, May 5, 2010

General Petraeus visits Task Force Helmand

General David Petraeus, the Head of US Central Command, visited Helmand Province on Saturday to meet British Foreign Office and military staff in Lashkar Gah.

General Petraeus - who was accompanied by the Commander of ISAF Joint Command, Lieutenant General David Rodriguez, and the ISAF Regional Commander South, Major General Nick Carter - was met by the Commander of Task Force Helmand, Brigadier Richard Felton and the Director of the Provincial Reconstruction Team, Lindy Cameron.

General Petraeus received an update on current and future operations with key briefings given by Colonel Shirin Shah of the Afghanistan National Army (ANA), and Colonel Kamulladin of the Afghanistan National Police (ANP).

Colonel Shirin Shah outlined some of the challenges that the ANA face and highlighted the steady progress that is being made by his six kandaks (companies). Colonel Kamulladin said that recent partnership operations were continuing to improve the ANP’s capabilities.

Mentoring and provincial reconstruction are key aspects of the mission in Afghanistan and General Petraeus was able to receive updates on the progress of the largest projects throughout Helmand province.

After leaving Lashkar Gah, the General flew to Forward Operating Base Shawqat in the Nad-e Ali District where he was greeted by the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (1 LANCS), Lieutenant Colonel Frazer Lawrence. Lt Col Lawrence talked him through what Combined Force Nad-e Ali are doing in the District to improve security, freedom of movement and reconstruction.

General Petraeus then met with the Nad-e Ali District Governor, Habibullah Khan; the District Chief of Police, Major Sadat; and the senior ANA representative in the area, Lieutenant Colonel Zelgai, before taking a walk through the thriving bazaar in the District Centre.

The General said he recognized the great efforts being made to improve the safety and security of the population within the Task Force Helmand area of operations. The ANA and ANP, working in partnership with ISAF forces, continue to shape the Helmand area building on the successes of the initial phases of Operation Moshtarak.

Brigadier Richard Felton said: “Giving the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) the opportunity to brief General Petraeus really demonstrates the success of partnering. An Afghan plan supported by Task Force Helmand is the real way to deliver security to the people of the Province who we are here to protect. Saturday was a significant day and indicates the ANSF’s preparedness to lead the way in the development of Afghanistan.”

Images Credit: Sqn Ldr Neville Clayton, RAF & Cpl Lloyd, RLC

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