Petraeus Visits Bagram, Discusses War in Afghanistan
By Army Spc. Scott Davis
Special to American Forces Press Service
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Nov. 6, 2008 The top U.S. commander for Iraq and Afghanistan visited here today to talk with commanders and get an updated assessment of the war on terror.
During his first visit to Bagram since becoming commander of U.S. Central Command, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus talked about the issues coalition forces face.
“Certain parts of Afghanistan have spiralled downward, but there has been continued progress in other areas, and that’s the challenge we have to confront,” Petraeus said. “Clearly there is additional emphasis, focus and resources that’s required for the Afghan-Pakistan region -- and it is a region. These two countries can’t be looked at in isolation.”
Petraeus explained the steps the United States is taking to better support operations in Afghanistan, including additional forces that Army Gen. David D. McKiernan, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan and NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, has requested.
“The additional forces for Afghanistan have been requested by General McKiernan, and he has made his needs known,” Petraeus said. “The coalition leaders and leaders at Central Command and in the Pentagon have been working on those needs. The United States has already committed an additional U.S. Army brigade combat team. That was made possible by offering one that was headed for a tour in Iraq.”
Petraeus also talked about how President-elect Barack Obama and his team will focus on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“There is a process that has already begun at the Pentagon,” the general said. “That’s the discussion among the transition team members, President-elect Obama, the senior military leadership and the defense leadership. They will discuss objectives, resource requirements and then the relative degrees of risk.”
Petraeus said servicemembers should be confident looking ahead. “We swear an oath to obey the orders of the president of the United States,” he said. “It’s a tradition that we fearlessly defend and cling to, and it’s one that we will all very much honor and look forward to honoring as President-elect Obama is inaugurated on the 20th of January.”
(Army Spc. Scott Davis serves in the Combined Joint Task Force 101 Public Affairs Office.)