24 Mar 2007

PR# 2007-228

ISAF commander tours Regional Command - East

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – The ISAF commander, Gen Dan McNeill, toured the Task Force Spartan area of operations in the northeastern provinces March 22.  Gen McNeill toured major regional hubs as well as some of the most austere areas administered by the task force during the day-long visit.

The tour began at 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Task Force (TF) Spartan headquarters at Jalalabad Airfield. Col John Nicholson, TF Spartan commander, briefed the general on the organization and development of the new brigade area, ongoing operations and reconstruction efforts in the Northeast.

Lt Col Chris Cavoli, commander, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, TF Spartan, joined the entourage at “Chosin Battalion” headquarters at Camp Blessing. After a short briefing and tour of Blessing, the group visited Soldiers at Aranas, located in the mountains of Nuristan Province.

The tour concluded with a visit to the Korengal Outpost, which allied forces established last year in the aftermath of Operation Mountain Lion.

During his briefing, Nicholson emphasized the importance of efforts to engage the population and build infrastructure, especially roads. He described his Soldiers’ work as comprehensive and centered on the populace rather than enemy fighters.

“The kinetic fight merely gains you the time and space necessary to achieve non-lethal effects,” the colonel said. “The physical transformation comes through the use of (Commander’s Emergency Relief Program) projects and the money spent in these provinces.”

McNeill asked Nicholson and his staff about transition efforts with their replacements in the 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade and the four-month extension of 3rd BCT soldiers in Afghanistan.

“The first week after the announcement of our extension was a mental adjustment for all the soldiers,” said Command Sgt. Maj. James Redmore, brigade command sergeant major. “But they accepted it after the initial shock and have carried on with their missions as the true professionals they all are.” 

The general praised Spartan accomplishments in the northeast.  “There’s no doubt of the momentum you’ve gained while here,” McNeill said. “Everyone above the brigade level can see your efforts and the changes you are creating.”

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/