Carter Wraps Up Weeklong Overseas Trip
By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service
ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT, May. 14, 2013 Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter met with U.S. military officials in Afghanistan today and took an in-person look at the progress of the retrograde as he concluded his weeklong overseas trip.
Following a meeting in the Afghan capital of Kabul this morning with Air Force Brig. Gen. Sami Said, deputy director of rule of law and law enforcement for the International Security Assistance Force, Carter traveled to the headquarters of Regional Command South, just outside Kandahar city.
There, the deputy secretary received an operational briefing from members of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, the regional command element. The division’s area of responsibility includes Kandahar, Uruzgan, Zabul and Daykundi provinces, and the transition to Afghan-led operations is well underway in most of the region, military officials said.
Carter praised the efforts of the division’s members, noting that they were among the first to arrive in Afghanistan fully prepared specifically for the transition mission.
The deputy defense secretary noted that leaders at the Defense Department understand the constantly evolving mission in Afghanistan poses challenges, but said the U.S. forces are up to the task. The department relies on them to be as creative and innovative as possible in executing the transition, he added.
Also at Kandahar, Carter visited equipment sorting yards operated by the Defense Logistics Agency and the Army’s 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. The yards process damaged, destroyed or excess military and other equipment from throughout Afghanistan.
Equipment is destroyed when it is deemed unfit for return to service or when it’s not cost-effective to ship back to the United States. When possible, the scrap is sold for recycling.
On his last stop of the trip, Carter visited Firebase Maholic, a U.S. special operations base on the outskirts of Kandahar in what once was top Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar’s compound, for an update on the progress of Afghan special operations forces.
Carter’s trip also included stops in Germany and Djibouti.