Dempsey Gets Firsthand Look at NATO Training Results
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
KABUL, Afghanistan, Apr. 24, 2012 Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, got a firsthand look yesterday at results NATO Training Mission Afghanistan has achieved during a visit to the Special Forces Training Center at Camp Morehead here.
Afghan special operations units showed off their skills in demonstrations for the chairman.
After conducting a rappelling demonstration, Afghan forces staged a mock hostage-rescue raid in a training compound. As the team members moved into position, a narrator pointed out the various components and described their role as the successful mission unfolded.
One of the key focus areas in his visit here is to check on the progress of Afghanistan’s security forces, Dempsey said during his flight from Jordan. But while today’s demonstration of that progress took place in a training environment, significant progress also is evident in the daily performance of Afghanistan’s security forces throughout the country, an International Security Assistance Force official told American Forces Press Service yesterday.
Army Lt. Col. Jimmie E. Cummings Jr., press desk chief at ISAF headquarters here, said the coordinated attacks in and around the Afghan capital April 15 provided a key test for Afghanistan’s national security forces, and they showed they were up to the challenge.
“ISAF had ground forces ready to go if the Afghan government asked for help, but the call never came,” Cummings said, and ISAF provided only minimal aviation support to the effort.
The Afghan forces killed about two dozen attackers and captured three suicide bombers before they reached their targets, Cummings said. The attacks began early in the afternoon of April 15, he added, and lasted until the next day only because Afghan forces had isolated the last groups of attackers in two locations and elected to wait until daylight to move in because the roads they would take might have been booby-trapped with explosives.
Another success came in recent days, Cummings said, as Afghan security forces arrested five terrorists who were transporting 10 tons of explosives hidden under sacks of potatoes. Earlier high-profile successes include defending Kabul against insurgent attacks in September and an incident-free Loya Jirga -- a national assembly of Afghan community leaders -- with Afghan forces solely responsible for security.
“In just the last year, Afghan security forces have come a long way,” Cummings said. “And that’s not talking points. That is results.”
During his visit to the training center, Dempsey had lunch with U.S. special operations mentors. He also received an update from Army Maj. Gen. William E. Rapp, U.S. Forces Afghanistan’s deputy commanding general for support, and met with Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker at the U.S. Embassy here.