Chairman’s Afghanistan Visit Focuses on Afghan Forces’ Progress
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
KABUL, Afghanistan, April 22, 2012 The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will focus on progress in Afghanistan’s national security forces during a visit here.
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talks with Army Lt. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of the International Security Assistance Force Joint command, upon Dempsey's arrival at Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan, Apr. 22, 2012. DOD photo by D. Myles Cullen
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey arrived this evening, and after a private dinner with a small group of field grade officers, met for about an hour with Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force.
Discussions here also will center on Allen’s plan to draw down the U.S. presence in Afghanistan to 68,000 troops by the end of September, the chairman told American Forces Press Service during the flight here from Amman, Jordan.
Dempsey’s visit to Afghanistan comes between last week’s meetings in Belgium among NATO foreign and defense ministers and the alliance’s summit in Chicago next month.
“The ministers get together and provide [the defense chiefs] with political guidance, and we discuss how we turn that into military advice and planning,” the chairman explained. But the summit will focus on the way ahead after 2014, when Afghan forces will have security responsibility for all of Afghanistan, he added.
In the meantime, Dempsey said, the key for military leaders is to work along with their Afghan partners to ensure Afghanistan’s national security forces continue their progress toward full security responsibility and to work together in addressing the challenges that lie ahead in that effort.
Earlier today, Dempsey met in Amman with Lt. Gen. Mashal al-Zaben, Jordan’s defense chief. They discussed the long-standing U.S. Jordanian partnership and regional security issues, including Jordan’s perspective on the situation in neighboring Syria.