From the event

07 Feb 2008

PR# 2008-058

Visit of US Secretary of State and UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to Regional Command (South)

KABUL, Afghanistan – Today, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the United States’ Secretary of State and the Right Honourable David Miliband, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, visited Regional Command (South) Headquarters [RC(S) HQ] at Kandahar Airfield.

The purpose of the visit was to meet with the Commander of RC(S) and to receive briefings about ISAF operations in southern Afghanistan from senior military commanders from some of the Task Forces within RC(S). In addition, they received a briefing from representatives of the Kandahar and Lashkar Gah Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). The visit ended with an opportunity for Dr. Rice and Mr. Miliband to meet and talk with soldiers from the various nations that contribute to RC(S).

“A few years ago people talked about Afghanistan as a failed state and a safe haven for terrorists. But you have helped turn that situation around. You have allowed Afghanistan a new beginning to be a functional modern state. Afghanistan is a poor country with a tragic past, but its people are tough and decent, and I am impressed by their skill and desire to live a better life. We are here to give them that opportunity,” said Dr. Rice.

And then, directing her remarks specifically to the assembled troops, Dr Rice thanked them for their bravery, skill, courage and sacrifice. “Please think of your stay here as an extraordinary experience. You’re part of a legacy of peace to the world. We have a difficult time ahead of us, but we thank you all for your efforts to bring security to this country. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

RC(S) encompasses six provinces in the southern region of Afghanistan. These include: Day Kondi, Zabul, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Helmand and Nimruz. This international force is made up of approximately 12,000 soldiers from 12 nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Denmark, Romania, Estonia, Turkey, Belgium, France and Slovakia.

The role of RC(S) is to conduct military operations in the south to assist the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the establishment and maintenance of a safe and secure environment. To accomplish this, RC(S) forces work very closely with their Afghan National Security Force partners in order to extend the government’s authority and influence, thereby facilitating Afghanistan’s reconstruction and contributing to regional stability.

“This important visit by the US Secretary of State and the UK Foreign Secretary provides further evidence of both nations’ continued commitment to ISAF’s mission to bring security and peace to the people of southern Afghanistan,” said Major-General Marc Lessard, Commander of RC(S).

“There has been progress in terms of security, governance and development in the region of the last few years,” explained MGen Lessard. “Our coalition mission is complex and at times challenging but we are resolved to seeing the task through.”

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/