Deputy Defense Secretary Visits Afghanistan to Thank Troops
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 24, 2014 Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work is wrapping up a trip to Afghanistan today, his first foreign trip since taking office last month.
Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work talks with Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. James E. Booker in the dining facility at the International Security Assistance Force headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 23, 2014. DOD photo by Glenn Fawcett
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson, a spokeswoman for Work, said the trip, which began June 22, gave Work a chance to visit U.S. members and thank them for their service, as well as to meet with Afghan and U.S. officials.
Work met with Defense Minister Gen. Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, Interior Minister Mohammed Omar Daudzai and other senior Afghan government leadership to reiterate the strong U.S. partnership with Afghanistan, Hillson said. He also emphasized that as the U.S. combat role nears its conclusion and the new post-2014 Resolute Support assistance mission begins, the United States will continue to build a strong and enduring security relationship with Afghanistan, she said.
Work emphasized that this continued assistance depends upon the prompt signing of the bilateral support agreement by the next Afghan president, Hillson said. “He commended the progress in security provided by the [Afghan national security forces], specifically highlighting the security provided for the successful second round of voting in the Afghan presidential election,” she added, “which was another milestone in Afghanistan's progress toward democracy and a peaceful transfer of executive leadership.”
The deputy defense secretary also met with U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., commander of the International Security Assistance Force, and other senior U.S. military commanders to discuss the Afghan forces’ progress, ISAF moving toward the responsible conclusion of its combat mission, and the ongoing U.S. retrograde efforts, Hillson said.
“In addition to the series of high-level meetings,” she added, “Deputy Secretary Work traveled to several coalition operating locations and visited with ISAF, NATO and Afghan forces in Kabul, Bagram, and Jalalabad to commend them on their ongoing efforts and successes.” At each location, she added, Work met with deployed service members to express his appreciation and that of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel for their service and that of their families during a critical time.
The visit marks the second time Work has traveled to Afghanistan in an official capacity, Hillson said, noting that he previously visited the country while serving as undersecretary of the Navy.