24 Feb 2007

PR# 2007-127

NATO Leaders visit Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan – Yesterday saw the completion of a 2 day visit to Afghanistan by the NATO Secretary General and the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.

On Feb 22, NATO Secretary General (SECGEN), Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR), Gen. John Craddock started an extensive tour of bases throughout the country, beginning at the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) Bagram.  The visitors met the Commandant of the PRT, Lt Col Koehler, who briefed them on the wide variety of projects being undertaken by the PRT. 

The visitors then viewed the first television and radio station that has been built in Kapisa Province, having been shown around by the Governor of the province, Abdul Murad.  The Governor also drew attention to the progress made in building schools and healthcare facilities for the local population. 

Murad emphasized to Hoop and Craddockthat the citizens of Kapisa were in good hands.  “It is very safe in Kapisa.  The people are extremely cooperative with the government. We emphasize to our people that if there are enemies present, their government will be here to protect and help the citizen,” Murad said.

De Hoop Scheffer expressed gratitude for the Governor’s hospitality and congratulated Murad on the developments taking place within his province.  “We are pleased to hear of all the progress being made in Kapisa,” he said. “We look forward to seeing a continuous growth.” 

The visitors then met with the soldiers of the U.S. 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division to express to the troops at the PRT their esteem for soldiers whose tours in Afghanistan have recently been extended by 120 days.

“This brigade has done great things during their last year in Afghanistan,” Craddock said. “The positive attitude and strength of character each of you have exhibited in this time of calling will carry you towards nothing more than a strong and well-deserved victory.”

In the face of Task Force Spartan’s extension, 3rd BCT Soldiers said they continue to work diligently against terror and for the people of eastern Afghanistan. Army Staff Sgt. James Kruse, 1st Btn32nd Infantry Regiment said working with the Afghans makes the mission worth it.  “It helps immensely that the Afghan locals are so receptive to our presence as well,” he said.

Aside from time with TF Spartan Soldiers, Craddock and Scheffer attended a brief presented by the PRT commander, Air Force Lt. Col. David S. Naisbitt, discussing ongoing operations and projected missions the PRT will undertake during the next few months.

The following day, the visitors flew to Kandahar Airfield and spoke with the Commander of Regional Command (South), Maj Gen Van Loon.  They then met with the Dutch AH-64 Apache helicopter pilots, who are part of the ISAF mission.

They then flew to Kajaki Dam were they met with ISAF troops involved with the security mission around the dam and project managers and engineers.  ISAF forces are working diligently to increase the electrical generating capacity of the dam to better serve the people of Helmand and Kandahar Provinces. There the visiting party then enjoyed lunch in the Mess Hall with ISAF personnel from The Netherlands and Australia at PRT Tarin Kowt.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/