30 Mar 2007

PR# 2007-251

President Karzai visits Northern Helmand

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province earlier yesterday.

While in Lashkar Gah, the President held a Shura with Helmand Governor Asadullah Wafa and close to 500 local Afghans and Elders from the surrounding villages to discuss the security and stability situation in Helmand, particularly in Northern Helmand.

During the Shura, the Elders conveyed to the President that they wanted the Taliban extremists out of Northern Helmand and would like the Kajaki project to commence. The president spoke of his desire to continue working closely with the international community on long term stability projects, which include the Kajaki project.

Before the President arrived in Helmand, he was flown from Kabul to Kandahar Airfield and had an opportunity to meet with Major General Ton van Loon, Commander, Regional Command South to briefly discuss Operation ACHILLES and the situation in Southern Afghanistan.

“It was an honour for me to meet with the President of Afghanistan again today,” stated Major General van Loon. “During our short meeting, the President supported the notion that the time has come to be more forceful in Northern Helmand, but also emphasised to me the importance of minimizing collateral damage.”

“I echoed President Karzai’s concerns and reconfirmed to him that we conduct all operations with great care to avoid the loss of innocent lives,” added Maj Gen van Loon.

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/