28 Jan 2008

Video Tele Conference

with Brigadier General J. Biziewski, Commander, Polish Battle Group, RC-East

MODERATOR: On my left I have Chris Dickson working for Agence Europe, and then right next to me is Mr. Tejinder Singh working for New Europe, the European Weekly. And on my right I have one of your compatriots, her name is Inga Rosinska and she's working for TV N24.

On these words I pass the forum to you if you have any introductory remarks.

BRIGADIER GENERAL J. BIZIEWSKI (Commander, Polish Battle Group, RC-East): Good afternoon, in fact, because you have afternoon now. I'm Brigadier General Biziewski. I've been deployed to Afghanistan in October last year. I've been working with Afghan issues since 2002 being a planner for doing (inaudible) on the Polish side and after that being mover, the J4 staff for movement, transportation at the Joint Force Command Brunssum.

Thank you.

MODERATOR: Right, I turn to my journalists. Anyone has a question. Yes, Tejinder.

Q: Good morning. This is Tejinder from the European Weekly. I'll start from the... you're on the eastern border which is with Pakistan. The internal situation in the Pakistan military is quite alarming so will you like to comment on the cooperation that is going on, if it is being affected?

BIZIEWSKI: From my perspective there's no, I would say, issue, because we have routinely done meetings. We have the Pakistani liaison officer, at our headquarters, we have our officers at the Pakistani headquarters, flag border meetings are normally performed. There's no, I would say, remarks, no signs that something wrong going into Afghanistan. Thank you.

Q.: This is still Tejinder from New Europe. A follow-up, a couple of weeks ago a retired Pakistani intelligence officer was in Brussels, and speaking to him he told me that India has six or seven consulates or posts along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan on the side of Afghanistan. And later another source also confirmed it. Will you like to comment on that. I'm not sure what kind of operation this is or why they are there. Thank you.

BIZIEWSKI: The question is very clear, but it's not to me to comment on that because I'm the Polish military commander being within the RC-East region, so I have nothing to do with the Pakistani-Afghan border and the activities there. My forces are deployed and they are working approximately between 100 to 150 kilometres from the border, so I have no contact with either the Pakistani troops or the border police on the border.

Q: Good morning, or good afternoon for you. It's Chris Dickson from Agence Europe in Brussels. My question is probably a more general question. How do the ISAF forces coordinate with the American-led coalition that is more specifically aimed against insurgents in Afghanistan? We see different levels of activity in the press over here, but I'm interested to know what concrete structures are in place to coordinate the different initiatives.

Thanks.

BIZIEWSKI: Thank you for this special, very much I would say complex problem and very easily solved. The RC-East commander is at the same time the commander for the 82nd Airborne Division, so he coordinates all the activities with the RC(E) region. And me personally being a part of ISAF, of ISAF operations, at the same time I am the Deputy RC's Commander for Coalition Forces. And we have daily very much routinely done meetings during those meetings all those problems are discussed and necessary any actions are taken precisely in coordination between those two quite separate, to some extent, quite separate operations. Although some portions of those operations are covering each other or just puzzling each other.

So it is at our level, at RC-East region, just answering very simply, it is done by the RC East commander and his staff.

Q: Sorry, you said some portions of the different operations are covering each other? I don't quite understand what you mean by that.

BIZIEWSKI: For example, if there is an operation Enduring Freedom, but there is also Operation ISAF and those two operations are very thoroughly coordinated. But for example, there's a CIMIC issue, so they coordinate CIMIC issues between them and they do it together. Just as a very simple example.

Q: Just on a quick follow-up to that, we've been hearing... I'm thinking of the misunderstanding in Ghazni a few days ago, hearing of some lack of coordination between Operation Enduring Freedom and the local Afghan forces, the Afghan police, the Afghan army. It seems, from this end, that there is a lack of coordination between Operation Enduring Freedom and the Afghani forces. Is this true? Do you see a problem there, or is there enough coordination through ISAF?

BIZIEWSKI: I would express that there's very good cooperation, but sometimes, because those operations are very complex and they are executed during very complex environment within for example, this accident you just mentioned it happened during the night, and different... different informations came from different sources on precisely what the Taleban group was doing that time. And those informations, they're coming to the ground, I would say, they collide... they collided because those... this situation there was a Taleban group, a Taleban group, there was a police group, they're very much looking very similar during the night. Both groups were in the cars, in the same... very similar places. Even they crossed each other.

When the operation was executed it happened just during this time.

Q: (Speaking in Polish)...

BIZIEWSKI: (Speaking in Polish)...

Q: So in English, because it's easier for our colleagues, one general question for Polish spectators, how could you describe for the moment the situation of Polish soldiers? Could you tell me please what are the most difficult and dangerous situation do you confront for the moment?

BIZIEWSKI: I would say that way... I just came from Sharana where I attended at the super shura. It is the meeting, the most important meeting for the local population. I met again, my soldiers. Usually I do it very much routinely once a week, sometimes twice a week. And my soldiers are very happy to be here, because they feel what are they here for? They're very much clearly specified goal to be here. And they are very proud of this, that they see those results how the population is welcoming them in the remote... very much remote situated areas.

They have very good contact with locals, so it very much positively influences my people. So they are very happy.

Q: Yes, but as you know in Poland there are some Polish soldiers waiting for trial so I'd like to ask if you have some comments concerning the situation, some remarks and if the situation did influence your contacts, Polish contacts, with Afghans?

BIZIEWSKI: Yes, to some extent it influences because we... we did additional courses on ROEs, rules of engagement. We perform additional meetings with the prosecutor, with the military police, every patrol, when is going outside is getting additional advice how to deal with local population. So there's no negative impact on activity of my soldiers, but we took lessons learned from this very much unlucky accident, I would say, because it was just, from my perspective, it was a mistake, an accident.

Q: This is Tejinder still from New Europe. Last week I was in Poland for a couple of days. I was in Warsaw and Krakow and I spoke to some members of the Parliament, but more important was speaking to the public in general. And there were two reactions I got about this. One was they were very proud that they are a part of something that they could not have dreamed a few years ago. And the second was that they were not very sure that they were not, as my colleague was asking, the correct information what's going on.

For example, they said how our soldiers are communicating with them? They do not know the language. So... and what conditions they're living in, and it's a very, very rough terrain, so will you like to comment on that? Thank you.

BIZIEWSKI: I think there are two portions of this question or your comment. The first one, I was the part... personnel of the part of the process striving to be a member of NATO. We really were asking for this to be... to create a secure environment for my country. We achieved it. Obviously with assistance, with support from different other countries. Mainly the NATO countries, from European countries, but also from the U.S.A. We achieved the goal.

Being here in Afghanistan we see it as an obligation to be very much reliable NATO member. And from this perspective we are doing the best how we can to perform our tasks. I can assure you that we have very good contact with local populations.

First of all, we have... each patrol has one or two... at least one, two translators, or interpreters. And they are usually originated from the Pashtun area and they perform their tasks very well. So this is one link we have.

Another link is just the mutual understanding between people. Because our patrol is going to villages they are going not only with weapons. They're going with the humanitarian aid, so it's very much appreciated by the people. And instead even of words, just signs, just the product provided to the people they say for their own. So in fact from this perspective they have very good communication with local people.

Just as an example, yesterday I was... as I mentioned before, those super shura with 600 elders, the tribal elders, with mullahs and the representatives of villages and they were from all the districts within Paktika province. And we discussed very openly, very honestly about our tasks, but also about the requirements of those people, about their expectations, and we had very good contact with those people. We have very good understanding of what, in fact, we have to do in very near and even in the longer term future.

Thank you.

Q: General, if I might, a question concerning the Hummers problem. As you probably know Polish journal Gazeta Wyborcza described the story of Polish soldiers who complained about the hummers that they weren't prepared enough and only General Skrcpczak agreed with them and the soldiers are complaining now that their complaints weren't taken seriously and they would be punished now.

So could you comment this please and explain me what in your view exactly happened.

BIZIEWSKI: I wouldn't like to comment what happens in Poland, but I would like to comment on the condition of Hummers I have in the theatre. So you're completely right that we had, because we've got Hummers they were not prepared enough to be safe for the personnel if there is IED, the improvised explosive device.

But to some extent it's already passed, because we've got from our U.S. partners a bulk of Hummers, almost 60 Hummers, they are so-called Kit 4 and Kit 5. It means those Hummers can be safe if they hit the IED. Obviously it is very relative safe, because even the tank is not safe if the IEDs are very much strong.

But we have now, as I said, those almost 60 Hummers and we use them as the first-line Hummers. The others are usually used within the bases. We have also, you know it better probably than me, we have also Rossomachs here, so they go the first ones in the column, and they hit the IED if there is any.

So the situation changed since last rotation very much. Thank you.

Q: So could you tell me please, could you tell me please is it true that those soldiers, were they asked to participate in some actions in those now prepared Hummers, and if you personally did you get any information from them that they were complaining, and would... how did you react?

BIZIEWSKI: Just to make it very clear, if there's a patrol, it is a planned for patrol and the patrol has to go, for example, this night for the action. So within the patrol the only Hummers, the only Hummers they are Kit number 4 and number 5. Those kits they are resistant, I would say, to IEDs. Or at least they should be only those, if the procedure is not broken.

Obviously we would wish, and we ask for this, we would wish additional Hummers to make more comfort for all the PBG, all the Polish Battle Group not to be so much limited for the patrols.

But for now, and I discussed it two days ago with the Polish Battle Group Commander, (inaudible), and he was happy with this number he got. It is another portion of hummers, we just ask for those for other groups, not for PBG, but we also have the OMLT, the Operational Mentoring Liaison Team, and those guys are very hardworking guys in Gardez, in the northern part, north of Paktika. It is another province.  And those... they don't have those improved Hummers. They're just waiting for provide.. for provision of them from the U.S. colleagues.

Q: If I can remember, my second question was, if you... did you receive any complaint from their part and when? And my first question was, if they are right, if they are right that they were sent in dangerous actions in those not prepared Hummers, now what is happening for the moment, but at this time when there were complaints, they are right or not that it was dangerous? The first question.

The second one, when did you get the information?

BIZIEWSKI: Yes, definitely those soldiers complaining those Hummers were not enough prepared, they were right. From my perspective. They were right on this. But from other side, they were perfect... they knew perfectly, they knew perfectly that those Hummers were in those conditions before they were deployed to Afghanistan. So we have a mix of, I would say, expectations from the soldiers, the mix of very much dangerous environment and I completely agree with this that those Hummers were not prepared to be resistant to IEDs, but other soldiers, soldiers, obviously they mentioned it, but there is... there was obviously the question about this, can they say no... not to go for the action?

And our authorities, they approved it. They just approved it. They said, okay, they had the right to say no, to go with those Hummers outside.

What General Skrcpczak commented on this.

Q: When you personally, you did the information about the problem, because the soldiers are complaining that they weren't, you know, that... it wasn't enough attention for this problem.

BIZIEWSKI: It is not for me to comment on the first rotation. It was... if the attention was put enough on this problem or not, because I'm the commander for the second rotation. It is just my personal comment that those soldiers that commented it, they just said it is too dangerous for them to go outside with those not prepared enough Hummers. But please, it's not my... it's not my rotation. I had those Hummers, I would like to have them, in fact. And my soldiers are happy with those.

Q: Just one question, and what do you think, those soldiers, should they be punished or not? Because they were complaining?

BIZIEWSKI: I think in our army it's not the tradition to punish soldiers for that kind of comment. So from my side they can comment on it.

Q: Chris Dickson again. My question is really, there seems to be quite a lot of comparisons going on right now between the situation in the east and more in the south. Obviously very different situations. I was wondering, do you feel that the Regional Command South, perhaps, has any lessons to learn from the relative stability in the East, or is it simply that the situations are too different, you cannot compare them?

BIZIEWSKI: It's just my personal view because it's not to me to comment on the RC-South commander's thoughts. But just looking from my perspective, obviously we share lessons learned between the commands. So if there are some lessons learned we are taking those lessons learned from the South. I hope they're also taking from our lessons learned, but they are different environments, I would underline that way. They are different challenges and so I wouldn't like to compare the situation because there's completely, from my perspective, completely different situation.

Even the situation differs between provinces. Not only between regions. So we have some provinces even in our region, they are very safe, but there are also some provinces that are very dangerous, so I wouldn't like to comment on this, on the comparison of those situations. They just have, I think, from my perspective, what I know, more enemy troops on their guard.

Q: This is Tejinder again. Retired Lieutenant General David Barno has recently written saying that it appears that the Taleban is a much more capable Taleban today, a stronger Taleban than when I was there. He was there during 2003, 2005. Would you like to comment on what kind of Taleban you are facing today? Is it stronger? Is it less? Thank you.

BIZIEWSKI: Well, I said before, I'm dealing with Afghanistan issues since 2002, in different positions. And it is always a very much individual perception how we perceive the situation on the ground. I think what you just mentioned is this kind of material, some it's just from the very much personal perspective.

My opinion is, at least in our region, the Taleban are not so strong as they were before. But it's my very much personal view. Maybe this is also influenced firstly by the time key, or because it's a winter time. It was autumn when we came and we have now winter time, so in very natural way the activities just decreased.

We have successes on finding those guys, on just doing actions between them, very much I would say, very much effective actions. I wouldn't say that in our province, in our... I say in Polish or within all the region, we rather see the decreasing activities of the Taleban side.

Maybe those opinions, is again my very much opinion, very much personal opinion, maybe those opinions are stemming from the criminal activities. And we observe a lot of criminal activities here. You can notice almost every day the kind of activities that on the road the column of just jingle trucks robbed by somebody. And just... and those trucks usually are fired, the fire is set on them.

So it is that kind of activities. So therefore maybe the perception of security is seen from this perspective.

Q: Tejinder again. There is also in a recent press briefing in U.S. there was a mention about that the forces that are there, except U.S. and the western, have been the forces which were prepared for a conventional threat from Eastern Europe and we have to adjust to the new reality which is that we are facing an asymmetric insurgency.

So you being... your country was part of the Warsaw Pact first and then today it is a part of NATO, how do you see the difference? And today you are facing, as it was said, asymmetric insurgency which is a completely different thing than fighting another army. How are you dealing with it? And also how good you see Afghan National Army coming up to those standards?

Thank you.

BIZIEWSKI: I would answer to this question very much interesting, thank you very much, complex question, thank you for this, NATO and Warsaw Pact, and our contribution to this organisation, to the second one or the first one, they are completely different... they were completely different organisations. They are now completely different organisations. Even NATO changes very much. So and you correctly, I think very much correctly stated, that it changes.

NATO was very much prepared, and also Warsaw Pact, for the static... maybe not so static, but very much regular fight. Now we have... now we are facing completely different, completely different environment. I think one of the most challenging because of the nature of the environment, but also because of the links between people. Also because of type of lack of understanding, to some extent, from our side. It was already mentioned, language, the culture, the type of things are very much hindering our activities. And insurgence is very... very much complex and are complicated issue to be and threat to be fought.

So from our perspective we are facing now, I think, one of the most challenging threats we should deal with. How we try to do it, I think, the most important is the very much how the... are very much coordinating actions between actors involved in those operations, the intelligence sharing, the very much accurate weapons, but also, and I think first and the most important, is to win the minds and hearts of the local population.

And we are doing it, and we are doing it very seriously. So my soldiers, the Polish military contingent soldier, because I am the commander for the... for this contingent, I can say that we are not here and very much I'm repeating it very frequently, we are not here just to shoot at people. We are here to support the people. And we do it within several dimensions, within the security dimension, within the government's dimension. Obviously also within the development dimension.

And those approaches are very much coordinated at the RC-East level and even at the ISAF HQ level.

How the Afghan National Army is doing? I know personally the commander of the 2nd Afghan Army Brigade. He's... the commander is the... is called Colonel Maluk. We are very much personal ties. We met several times.

Those guys are very, very much devoted to their nation. And they are doing very well, and they are doing better and better every week. Obviously we are providing, the U.S. side, and we Poles, are providing assistance to those guys. We have troops for this, we have soldiers, we have expertise and the Afghan National Army, at least in our province, is doing... their own activities in coordination with us.

So we have now the stage that they are not only learning from us, they are operating independently with our assistance. So this completely new quality of the army.

Again, I would like to underline, it is my perception from RC-East region. Thank you.

Q: It's Tejinder again. There's another comment which I would like to quote from the former German Foreign Minister. He said in a report this month, in a statement and report, that Afghanistan has fallen victim to the scandal and unpopularity of the war in Iraq. To save the country from chaos and total collapse the international coalition needs to design a new strategy. What is your  view about this new strategy, and is... what was the old strategy and why it is failing and what are the drawbacks you feel that need to be addressed? Thank you.

BIZIEWSKI: ...(inaudible) it is not to me as a tactical commander to comment on the political issue. But I would like only to comment on the strategy. I'm thinking about the military strategy within Afghanistan. And it is very often... the document is very often mentioned within our forum, what we are... when we have meetings, and obviously there are... there are some rooms for improvement, I would say, but it is the only strategy at this moment which is worked out by partners, and they are working along those lines. They were approved between partners.

Obviously there are some lacks, there are some gaps, but it is precisely the room for improvement from different nations, from different armies and so on. But the strategy aimed at stabilization of Afghanistan I think is completely right. Having the secure country here, the developing country, and the very good government here, it is what we are looking for.

Q: Tejinder again. There's a quick follow-up. Speaking to some commanders over the last few weeks, this word development has been coming up and when I wrote a piece, our readers responded to that very much. But when I asked yesterday the NATO spokesman for his comments at the regular briefing he was of the opinion that the NATO is doing... can do the development in case there is an emergency like making a bridge suddenly to cross or something.

I would like you to highlight this humanitarian side of the soldiers and if you feel that it is what you mentioned before, that it is to win the minds and hearts of the local population.

So how... what they are doing and how much you feel they are successful. Thank you.

BIZIEWSKI: I would like to divide the answer in two parts. The first one... just to clarify it, because there is sometimes there's misunderstanding, what is the civil-military cooperation and what is the development issue in Afghanistan. So the civil-military cooperation is the part of the security operations when the patrols, convoys, operations are performed and the CIMIC teams are going with the operational forces to the field just to serve the people, to convince them that we are not there for example in the village to destroy the village, but to support those people.

So it's the first one. Just from my perspective as the Polish military commander, just some examples. During last three months we provided within the CIMIC, just within the CIMIC during the patrols and operations, we provided... we served for more than 2,400 patients at the medical days. We just provided teams there with doctors, with drugs, medical drugs and so on. We provided 30 tonnes of food to those very much remote areas. Sometimes four hours drive from the village to the nearest city.

Sometimes those people just don't have any food even in the kala(ph), in the house. We provided them 3,000 pairs of different shoes. And almost 1,500 blankets, 100 fans. That kind of stuff. And it's a CIMIC portion.  It seems to me very small stuff, but it’s very important for the village.

The second part is a development strategy and it is the CERP fund prepared for this, mainly the majority of the fund is provided by the U.S. side. It's not our, the Polish money involved in this, at least the biggest portion is the U.S. one. It's the Commander's Emergency Response Program. So each commander at a certain level has his own money to respond very quickly, to response to requirements of the local population.

And for example, during those last three months we as the Polish Battle Group and the Polish military contingent, working with the U.S. colleagues and they were providing the money, we spent approximately $35,000 U.S. on small bridges, medical supplies, for example, 14 tents for schools and those projects have been already completed. It is maybe... it is very obvious, but sometimes the villages, even they don't have school building, so we had to provide, for example, tents, and fans for the tents.

The CERP program, it is the same project, and we are now doing the executing of those projects because there are other projects. Nearly $130,000 U.S., $130,000 U.S. and they are devoted, for example, for water pipe... water pipes, wells projects, drainage ditches, solar lights, power generators, even for wheat seeds just to make sure that they will have something to put in the earth during the spring time.

Obviously we provided also the school supplies, school books for example, farming tools, and you have to be aware of this, that those mentioned projects are going to very, very remote areas in  (inaudible), Waza Khwa, Yai Akel, that kind of places I think to some extent forgotten by other people.

The Polish... the purely Polish projects which has... were executed. So for example, the writing(?) sets, 4000 of those we provided to people, so equipment for schools, desks, blackboards, chairs. We provided approximately between 800 up to 1500 of them, 800 up to 1500 different... those things. So individual students' equipment, school bags, pencils, notebooks. Those people in the villages, they don't have that. So if we provide them they are better equipped to send their children to the schools.

And those, for example, the individual students' equipment, 4,000 of decorative(?) sets we provided also. So 4,000. So equipment for Sharana and Waza Khwa hospital, beds, mattresses, bed clothes, screens, nanometres, autoscopes, thermometers, drugs, bandages, that kind of stuff, all together the Polish side provided for $500,000 U.S. last three months, that kind of assistance for the people, mainly within the villages.

And it pays back also, because first of all, we've very good contact with the people on the ground. Secondly, from Poland some foundations they came to me as the Polish condition commander, asking me if they can come and I can provide them security to go to the villagers. So it means that in spring time we will be more capable even to provide more assistance for the people. So therefore I'm so very much positive of this.

Thank you.

Q: This is Tejinder. Just a quick follow-up, General. You just said it's about paying back. I was speaking to a terrorism expert in U.S. last month and he was saying that it's not just to fight terrorism, but also to cut the recruitment grounds. So do you feel... how far you are successful with the teenagers, younger generation, to stop the recruitment area, you know, the potential future Taleban?

Thank you.

BIZIEWSKI: Thank you for the question. It is very much the most, I would say, the most delicate question. One of those goals we would like to achieve to have those people with us, and yesterday I discussed with the elders, during the super shura I mentioned before, in Sharana centre, I discussed with the elders from Dila and from Kushamont(ph) and those... precisely those Kushamont and Dila districts, they are the safe havens for terrorists. Even for now we are not going there because it's too danger to go even with the weapon there.

But I discussed with those elders, they are the top in their communities, and we have the same understanding. If they get enough assistance to have the future for there, to provide education for the people, for the youngers, so those younger guys they will not go to Pakistan for Madrassas. Because they go to Madrassas in Pakistan, they are indoctrinated there and after that they are going back to Afghanistan and they are doing what they... what they are ordered to do.

So from my perspective, the key for success in this field is to have as much as possible close ties with local population, with those elders, with mullahs, to educate people, to assist them in the basic needs, with the basic needs. They don't require too much, but they're just asking to have something from us to be able to survive with their community.

If we do it definitely it will be appreciated. They are very words, and yesterday I discussed with those guys. Thank you.

Q: If my... I may because it sounds positive and optimistic what are you saying, but some comments and reports, analysis, say that it will take very much time to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan, so how do you think... how much the time, will your soldiers will have to stay there and in general the other forces too? So if sometimes don't you feel that maybe you do something but it's very far to any achievement.

BIZIEWSKI: I wouldn't like to count it in years, because it would be very false approach. I would rather to go for end state, and we have very much precise defined statement when the situation allows, when this...when the country's secure.  The government is working properly. The development is ongoing. It will be the condition to discuss together within NATO community, together with other partners, okay, it is a need to stay longer or we can go to country back.

So I wouldn't say okay it will be a certain amount of years. Just we are talking about the conditions. And I'm quite positive, maybe I'm wrong, but from my perspective, just looking at this moment, it's not so... it is not so complicated as it looks like from the outside.

I would rather say... I would ask for more assistance on the civilian side, on the civilian side for the operation. For example, me as a military commander, I'm very much missing the support from different ministers from my country, for example, from the industry, from the health care ministry, from the rural... from the agriculture for example. So that kind of specialists, if they come here, with some resources, they really will give a very valuable contribution to the whole operation.

I think there's a really... at least in our country, very false picture of Afghanistan nature, of Afghanistan operation's nature, because we see the operation through the military, through the military perspective. But it is not a military operation from my perspective, that I see that way. It should be. It should be more complex, much more responding operation to the civilians being or living in Paktika province.

Q: Just could you be more specific about your needs concerning, for example, stuff from ministers. What exact that they, for example, could do that you can't do and what kind of help you really need?

BIZIEWSKI: Okay, for example, the Paktika province is very much undeveloped, so it will be necessary to bring here, to deploy here a very small team from different... the representatives from different ministries just to evaluate what are those needs.

From my perspective, for example, I just... what we are just doing. The ditches, the irrigation systems, the wells, drainage systems, solar lights, power. For example, the power station, it's not existing in Paktika province. So you have the kind of I would say, requirements for real support from such, you know, the big country as us, as our country is, in fact.  So it’s necessary, for example, just to explain it how situation looks like, within the health care system in Paktika province there's only one female doctor working on gynaecology. And she's for all the population of one million people. Obviously, we are talking about... in this case about women and girls, so it is the, I would say, disproportion between the requirements and the real state within the Paktika province.

Therefore I am so very much thankful for the foundation, the medical foundation they came to me from Poland asking just to come here in spring time. They'll be probably eight... seven people, so we will see. But that kind of stuff we really need here.

Not the military with tanks, not the military with weapon. We need the civilian support here. And with those forces we have we can provide safe and security for those civilian forces coming here going to support the civilian population.

MODERATOR: General, I think that on this last question and response from your side we're going to close this meeting. I would like to thank you very much for your openness and extensive responses.

I was actually very much interested in too what happened at the super shura. If I may just add a quick question at the end of this, when you're closing your remarks, I think you've covered quite extensively the requirements that are currently valid in the Paktika province, but as you've just attended a super shura with 60... 600, sorry, representatives from the province districts, can you tell us more about the general expectations of the locals? What are their expectations generally speaking for their own life, for their own families and for Afghanistan? And on these words I thank you again very much and wish you a nice day.

BIZIEWSKI: Yes, I'll answer this question very quickly. They are... their expectation they were expressed by me just saying now, just a minute before about those requirements of local people.

In addition, they, for example, asked also for animals, just to buy some animals to reproduce, to reproduce the farms because they just lost during the winter time. It's that kind of requirements that they need. They are talking about five, ten pieces per family.

Obviously they discuss with me about security. They just convinced me if I go to their village and my soldiers go, they will be secure there. And I believe them, because we discuss it before, one month ago and up to now we haven't got any combat contact with... in certain areas.

So they keep... when they give the word they keep the word. They are very much reliable on this.

What they are asking for, they were asking for, they're asking, for example, from Dila and Kushamont, very much surprisingly, they were asking those two elders, they were asking for establishment of police force in those districts and the district centres in those districts. The (inaudible) established by the U.S. colleagues, but because of very much dangerous threat and the Taleban influence, those districts were just abandoned after some time.

Now they are calling again to re-establish those districts, so it's very good again, and a sign that they are waiting for us to go there. They would like to be separated from caliphs, from Taleban. So it is also again a very good sign too. At least I see that way.

MODERATOR: Thank you again, I think that...

BIZIEWSKI: (Inaudible)...

MODERATOR: No, go ahead.

BIZIEWSKI: They ask all for the roads because in Paktika province there's no... or there's almost no roads. Those roads... some portions of those roads were built by the U.S. partners, but there is that only roads existing there. But there are other portions of Paktika province there's no at all any road even, just... just dirt.

And they're asking for connection between Sharana through Waza Khwa, what in fact is in the U.S. project to be built, up to Dila and Kushamont district.

So they're asking for very simple things. Sometimes they are beyond their capability, therefore they're asking for that kind of assistance.

They're asking also for longer hours of opening of hospitals. Because as I mentioned in the province there are two hospitals, Waza Khwa and Sharana, working hospitals, on a daily routine basis. So from the whole province the people are going to those hospitals. Can you imagine what is... what the crowd is there.

So again, that kind of very much daily stuff they need. Nothing special.

MODERATOR: Sir, thank you very much. I do think that the points you've just mentioned about, re-asking about police post and being ready to ensure security of your people when they go to those villages is indeed an encouraging sign. Thank you very much again. It's past 10:00 now so I'm going to leave you go back to your work and mission and thank you very much.

BIZIEWSKI: Thank you very much. I would like to thank you very much, thank you for your understanding, for your kind words here and for those that you pay attention to our operation. It helps very much us if we can provide the accurate information to the people outside of Afghanistan because that way we can maybe perform.the operation more accurately, more effectively.  Thank you very much.  All the best to you.