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More U.S. Forces Headed to Afghanistan; Unit to Change Role

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2005 – An Army airborne infantry battalion is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan to provide more flexibility in the fight against terrorism and to support the National Assembly and Provincial Council elections, U.S. officials in Afghanistan said.

About 700 members of 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, are expected to deploy from Fort Bragg, N.C., within two weeks. The unit returned from Iraq in March after deploying there in December to provide security for the January elections in that country.

"The Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and coalition forces, along with this additional airborne battalion, will provide greater flexibility to continue offensive operations and enhance security during the election period," said Brig. Gen. Jack Sterling, deputy commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force 76. "We want to provide Afghanistan with an environment for democracy to flourish. It is our goal to allow security that promotes participation in the election process."

Elections for Afghanistan's National Assembly and provincial councils are scheduled for Sept. 18.

In other developments, the Office of Military Cooperation Afghanistan will officially change its designation to the Office of Security Cooperation Afghanistan July 12 at Camp Eggers.

The redesignation is due to the command's assumption of the U.S. government's role in Afghan security-sector reform. This will include support to the lead nation, Germany, in the reform of the Afghan National Police, in addition to the unit's current Afghan National Army reform mission.

(Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news releases.)

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