6 Mar 2007

PR# 2007-151

ISAF opening statement on Operation Achilles

KABUL, Afghanistan - “Operation Achilles, which began today, and is the latest in our continuing effort to facilitate reconstruction and development, involves some 4,500 ISAF troops and about 1,000 troops of the Afghan National Security Forces. These forces have pushed into the northern Helmand Province and other nearby locations. The operation will improve security and set the conditions for meaningful reconstruction that fundamentally improves the quality of life for all Afghans living in these areas.

Initially, Operation Achilles is focused on improving security in areas where Taliban extremists, narco-traffickers and foreign terrorists are currently operating. Once the security situation is improved, we will begin short- and long-term reconstruction projects that will provide jobs and civic improvements that lead to greater economic development in these areas.

Operation Achilles is part of a systematic campaign to create a secure environment that will enable the Government of Afghanistan to help the Afghan people by developing northern Helmand. Clean water, access to basic medical care, opportunities for Afghan children to pursue an education, improved roads and better quality of life for citizens is our goal.

Strategically, we also want to enable the Afghan Government to further the Kajaki project. This long term initiative is a huge undertaking and the eventual rehabilitation of the Kajaki multi-purpose dam and power house will improve the water supply for local communities, rehabilitate irrigation systems for farmlands and provide sufficient electrical power for residents, industries and commerce.

While Operation Achilles is a major operation, I want to emphasize that it is a continuation of the forward momentum that the Government of Afghanistan and ISAF have achieved in the past few months. The Afghan people can take comfort in knowing that there will be other operations in the coming months to extend the Government’s influence in new areas, but most importantly, to achieve the security conditions necessary for reconstruction and development.

The future of Afghanistan is one of significant challenges. Now, more than ever before, the Government of Afghanistan and ISAF need the support of the Afghan people. The operations we are currently conducting will help the people of Afghanistan.”

- Col. Tom Collins, ISAF spokesperson

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/