22 Feb. 2009
PR# 2009-174

Rise of the Phoenix in Afghanistan

U.S. Army Brigadier General Steven Huber, Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix VIII commander, talks with members of a Police Mentor Team about communications in the western region. Huber toured the region 18 -20 Feb to talk with troops and assess Afghan National Security Forces mentoring and training programs. (ISAF photo)

KABUL, Afghanistan - Brigadier General Steven P. Huber, commander of Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix VIII and native of Chicago, Ill., visited the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Herat, Shindand and Bala Baluk to evaluate his concerns about force protection, troop safety, manning, soldier care, communications and property accountability, Feb. 18-20.

Before returning to Task Force Phoenix Headquarters in Kabul, he met with ISAF Regional Command West Commander Italian Army Brigadier General Paolo Serra at Camp Arena in Herat. They discussed cooperative efforts surrounding the influx of new troops to the region.

“TF Phoenix is basically going to double,” said Huber in regards to troop increases. “Right now we have one brigade-sized element that comes in and resources with additions from other sources like Air Force, Navy, some Marines, and then contractors. Soon they are going to have two brigades doing what we are doing with one, and it is going to be a huge shot in the arm for Phoenix. It will allow us to fill the gaps we are experiencing today.”

According to Huber, the inflow of troops will begin in April and will conclude when the last of the second brigade, an active duty brigade, arrives in September.

“There are a lot of plans in place to establish an infrastructure designed to support the increases,” said Huber. “It starts with land management, where are we going to put this, are we adding on or starting from scratch in various places. We mainly expect to expand existing forward operating bases.”

Huber and Serra discussed the possibility of some incoming soldiers staying at the Forward Support Base, RC-W headquarters, to assist with flight operations.

“My main concerns in the west haven't changed,” said Huber. “I didn't get to see everybody this trip, but I'll be back. I haven't been up to the north, to Bala Morghab or Changacharan yet, and would also like to get down to Farah. TF Phoenix is not there, but we have some Illinois folks down there on a Provincial Reconstruction Team mission. They are working for General Serra on the ISAF side, but they are our folks and we want to get there to see how they are doing.”

Task Force Phoenix is currently run by a U.S. Army Guard unit from Illinois. It has almost 3,000 personnel assigned to it in country and commands and controls approximately 5,000 others.

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/