Afghan Leaders Tour Pendleton for Tips

Local border protection provides insight for transitional government

By Lauren Steussy
|  Saturday, Dec 3, 2011  |  Updated 3:58 PM PDT
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Afghanistan Head of Army and the Chief of Police in Helmand Province joined Major General Charles Gurganus in a press conference Saturday.

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Key leaders from Afghanistan’s military and police forces visited Camp Pendleton to learn more about how US Marines train and operate.

The two week visit is part of a tour intended to prepare Afghan forces for the US troop drawback next fall. Most of the leaders had been immerced in war their entire lives, and wanted to see how police forces operated in maintaining peace.

Leaders attended also a conference with Marines at Camp Pendleton Saturday.

The conference gave US military personnel a chance to establish relationships with Afghan leaders for smooth transition of coalition forces, said Major General Charles Gurganus at the conference press event.

Amid criticisms of troop withdrawal, many believe the exit strategy will come too soon, and that Afghan forces will not be ready to replace the American troops currently serving.

However the visiting Afghan leaders painted a different picture of their country and readiness.

“Afghan and US forces have achieved a lot in the last 10 years,” one Afghan leader said. This includes better schools and infrastructure, he added.

Afghan leaders from Helmand Province said observing police and military forces in the US gave them material to bring back to the Afghanistan for training of their own police officers.

“Whatever we see from thousands of miles away gives us a different picture. If we see these things in person it gives us a clear picture,” one Afghan leader said through an interpreter.

The Afghan leaders also observed US Border Patrol agents in order to learn techniques for how to better secure their own border from Taliban presence, they said. They visited Los Angeles to tour the Los Angeles Police Department, and will do the same in New York and Washington DC.
 

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