tv [untitled] April 25, 2012 4:30pm-5:00pm EDT
goes, the hakani network goes. if you keep a lid on the insurgency, the hakani network isn't going to be as all powerful as some talk it up to be. yes, they do operate. khost and other places. that's where they want to shift the main effort to. but this post-harvest season, we'll see. and i think what we'll find is we'll be able to hold the line. and then maybe make that shift next year. >> thanks, general. in the back. >> thank you. sidney freedburg, aol defense. having talked to a lot of young officers and ncos back from both w wars, i'm curious, you know, address for a moment the young marine leaders that have served with you, you know, they've been, you know, doing all this
coin but were drawing down, the national strategy says, you know, no more prolonged coin. shift, pivot to asia, partnership building. the corps itself is trying to get back to its maritime and extraditiex pra di extraditi extraditionary routes. and we're drawing down. to a young marine, lieutenant, captain, sergeant today what do you say about -- why is there experience of the last decade relevant? how are they going to have to adapt? why thshould they stay in when everything's changing radically? >> that's good. i've had discussions recently with a lot of our young leaders and marines. and i will say coin is a complexion type of fighter. some people tend to think it's
all about okay clear, hold, build. and then the job is done. what we're doing right now -- and this year is critical to the transition -- is we're not necessarily changing the mission in afghanistan. but we're changing -- we're walking into the final phase of a counterinsurgency. which is to advise and train. set the forces up for success. the mission is not changing. we have trained our guys to understand that in a counterinsurgency, you can't win a counterinsurgency with coalition forces. you got to win it with envisionist forces. they know that. they know their mission is support and back up the afghan security forces. so we're following through in that coin mission. all the way to the end. and i think although 2014 looms
out there as being the end of the counterinsurgency, the final phase is that support phase, which we haven't really put a disscripture on exactly what's going to be left, but there will be things left after 2014 that will continue to support the afghan security forces. you're absolutely right. for the past ten years, we have concentrated on, you know, the fight in afghanistan and iraq. it has been a counterinsurgency. it has required different skills of our marines. particularly i think, you know, we've concentrated on the operations on the ground in iraq and afghanistan. and we haven't conducted as much amphibious operations as you
alluded to. areas we might be returning. although i will say one of the more successful amphibious operations was in 2001 where we did go in afghanistan and we moved personnel and equipment over 400 miles to afghanistan. but there will be some shifts. also, too, we are losing -- we will be losing marines and soldiers and sailors who basically have ph.d.s in counterinsurgency right now. they understand it. they get it. they're good at it. and they like it. and they're effective. as we draw down, we will lose some of those guys. i think what we have learned is in a counterinjure ssurgency the some basic principles that apply across the board. we realize those fundamentals we can never lose.
certainly as a marine, being an expeditionary force and being able to operate in helmand province without a big huge footprint. sometimes it requires a little bit of discipline. say, okay, guys, we're not going to put in that green bean mr. coffee guy because we don't really need it. let's close this down and let's live over there with the afghans in their facility. we're doing more and more of that. it's getting to that expeditionary low footprint mode. >> if i could ask a follow up. we had the news of the u.s./afghan partnership agreement over the weekend. hopefully will lead to a more specific agreement that's hammered out with the afghan government on the nature of our military partnership and our security relationship. here at the atlantic council, we
are looking at the nato summit in less than a month in chicago. where afghanistan will be one of the primary if not the primary agenda item. and we've had some headlines over the last couple of months of what it looks like some key coalition and ally contributors coming out a little bit early with the uk -- or maybe it wasn't the uk but certainly france and we've heard about australia and others. and so the question i have is from your point of view. i mean, how -- what's sort of the plan, you know, for this transition? what partners do you see as key potentially going forward if you're allowed to be that specific. and for my view, what's the key strategy, again if you can be that specific, you know, till the transition in 2014 and then afterwards? because i think that's the part that's missing. we've had a lot of time phased announcement. but i think more importantly is what's the strategy guiding our footprint and our activities going forward?
because this is going to have to be a long-term partnership. we're in places like bosnia still, you know, many, many years after the fact. so we should certainly begin to set the expectations of the american people and of the populations and of the allied and coalition contributing nations as well. if you have any thoughts on those issues, it would be great to hear. >> i think someone said it's -- coalition warfare is very difficult. but it's even more difficult without coalition forces. and so the reality is that we need to all learn and be better at conducting coalition operations. for me, it was a tremendous learning experience as the commander of coalition forces. 'cause, as many of you know, i tried to put on the film, we had brits, danes, jordans, it was a huge coalition force. and when you find their niche,
what they contribute best and you integrate it, it really makes a difference. so the challenge for general allen, and he has reminded the regional commanders that there really isn't anything more important than keeping this coalition together during this entire operation, till the end. and it hurts when a country like france, for example, says, out east, after an insider event, when several french soldiers were killed is, okay, we're out of here. because, you know, that registered a "w" for the insurgency. it's very powerful when a coalition partner like, for example, the uk, steps up and says "we're here, we're here to the end." "oh, by the way, we're not
reducing our forces." because the uk is only going to reduce their forces by about 500 over the next year. which is very small. so, i mean, that's helpful. that serves as a great statement in helmand province for us. we've got it. we're here. i think that the strategic partnership you refer to in the beginning between the afghanistan and the coalition has had some challenges. the two big ones are obviously night raids and the tension operations. i think that the president of afghanistan has been working very hard to cut out night raids. what we have done in order to satisfy that desire by the president is, in effect, we have taken u.s. forces out of the
actual conduct of the night raids and put them in an adviser trainer role. so helmand province we will conduct night raids almost every night. we're still doing night raids. we're doing night raids with commandos. we're doing night raids with the narcotics interdiction unit that was mentioned earlier. in fact, we just had -- we had a raid several months ago where it was done by the niu. it was advised and trained by a couple of dea agents that were with them. that's how we're doing the night rates. we're not conducting them anymore. we're just in a supervisory/adviser role. as far as the tension operations, i think that's the one that's going to be the bigger challenge. and the problem is we've got insurgents in the tension operations that can't -- do not fall under the criminal investiga investigative line.
and so it's difficult for us to allow those insurgents to just turn them over to the afghan government. because one of the areas that still requires continued attention is rule of law. and the whole system, from criminal investigation all the way to prosecution and detention, that's working. it's in progress. but it's not complete. so till that's really established, i think it's dangerous to turn it over, detention operations completely to the afghans. but we're working closely. this strategic partnership is impacted by some of those sensitive issues. >> i see. thanks very much. yes, in the front. >> general, thanks for the great introduction and speech. my question is what percentage
of -- from the southern pashtun community, because that's an issue that always came up. second one is usually taliban have a shadow governor in each province. do they have a shadow governor? and do they have any operations? not on the military level but on a soldier level? other things they use to doing those things? >> no, good questions. unfortunately, in the afghan national army, the percentage of pashtuns that are serving, for example, the 215th corps, which is the corps responsible for southwest region, is probably less than about 15%. culturally the pashtuns, particularly the pashtuns that come out of helmand province,
they don't look to the army for employment. we have been trying hard to bring more into the army. in the 215th corps, corps commander and three brigade commanders. two of the brigade commanders are pashtuns, which is very good. and they're from helmand. the corps commander unfortunately, though, is from pataki, and he's not pashtun. and the other is a tajik. so it would be better if there were more. but, really what we're trying to focus our attention on is the afghan uniform police. because they -- really, we realize, are the center of gravity. if we're going to make a difference, if we're going to keep the support of nationals, the police are the ones that are
going to control the populations, support the populations in the helmand river valley. the army, the intent, is for the army to leave. and we're currently doing that right now. to leeave the populated areas ad move out into the further reaches of helmand and nimruz province. so that their focus becomes the borders. and the police focus becomes the populated centers. and in the police, that's where you find the pashtun. that's where you find the locals who are taking responsibility for their homes. it's very interesting because the average pashtun does not want to leave home. for us as americans, have to realize some of these guys who joined the police, if there's a threat they might not be able to stay in nari surag and they might move them to kanishin in the south, "i don't want to leave home." we have to understand that and
respect that. but that is a challenge. is they don't like leaving home. home is home. but i think that's what we're trying to do. make sure pashtun are in the police. and the afghan army move out of the populated centers. we're not at that point yet where the police are conducting criminal investigations. collecting evidence. it's still a work in progress. so the -- and the police are working through a history of corruption. the local people still are hesitant. so the army's playing a strong role. they are pretty well respected. but we're working through that stage of moving the army out and having the police do more of law enforcement rather than combat operations. but that's where the local home
grown pashtuns are going to focus their efforts. >> yes, question in the back. >> good morning, general. i'm originally from afghanistan. i work as a subject matter expert at the marine university in quantico, virginia. welcome back home. it's a very good presentation. very motivational. i mean, we -- for a long time, we saw good news coming from home. so what -- how do we convince the american public? how do we send these images into the american media so that we can convince them to stay committed to -- or have some more patience to -- in this fight against terror? thank you. >> well, i guess that's one reason why i'm on this tour here for the next ten days, is to get around and try and get the word out to a variety of different
people. i also -- i told the marines that -- folks that just left afghanistan. i've had conversations with the commanders. conversations to try and explain to them, you know, what they've accomplished. because it's difficult sometimes for them to put the whole picture together. so as a leader, my junior leaders, their job to sort of put that picture together. hey, you did a great job down here. but what's the bigger picture? and so showing them how -- you know, i was very disappointed with an article that was written. i forget who wrote it. somebody wrote an article called "roads to nowhere." and i wanted to write an article but i was, you know, in afghanistan. i mean, those roads are critically important. many counterinsurgent experts told you the insurgency begin where the roads end. being able to give people jobs
and build a value change in the agriculture industry. what it's all about. but the individual marines, thousands and thousands of soldiers and marines and sailors that have served in afghanistan. when they are told and understand the picture, they're the best salesmen on what they've accomplished in afghanistan. not to mention the fact that obviously, as you -- i mean, statistics and kinetic reductions and percentages, i can give you all those. it's impressive. when you look at what was going on. what the news media called a festering sore of afghanistan. you saw pictures of marjah. it's a bustling area. i've brought congressmen, senators. anybody, i brought them and walked them right down the market square slick with no armor, nothing. so, i mean, there's still
stories that need to come back. but i also understand -- and we're sensitive to the fact -- and individual marines and soldiers and s.e.a.l.s are sensitive to the fact that they've got to maintain the highest levels of standards in afghanistan. because the impact of negative press, the impact of, you know, a marine or soldier being shot by an afghan soldier or police officer has a powerful impact. and there could be 100 great stories and that one. so, again, i think it's a matter of us, one, making sure we maintain, we keep our honor clean. we maintain the highest standards as we're operating in afghanistan. and when we come back, we're informed enough to be able to explain to people that, hey, you
know, we really did make some great progress. and i think that will probably work it. here's a bottom here's the bottom line for me. there has been a lot of sacrifices made in afghanistan and iraq. the casualties for u.s. forces has dropped dramatically but the casualties on the afghan side has increased. it shows the fact that the afghans are now in the lead in many of the districts and their responsible for the security but those sacrifices are important and we owe both the afghan and the coalition force sacrifices. we owe it to them to make sure we stay the course because we are making great progress. it's not perfect. i tried to bring up some of the hiccups but it's on track and
moving. so hopefully between the discussions that we have and others we'll get some supporters to stay the course. >> time for one more question. >> thank you. roger kirk. my question is, what kind of training and support do you expect will be needed after 2014? and what are the prospects that you see of getting that? >> i think there are some areas that the afghans will not be able to build capability or capacity over the next two years so they are going to need our support. as i mentioned earlier the afghans in the intelligence realm in human intelligence nobody is better than they are. that is a powerful resource for
them. they don't have the rest of the intelligence capabilities to build reconnaissance that we have which have grown in the battlefield and i'm a very happy commander with what we're getting out there. the afghans know that we have that and they want to maintain or have access. i think we're going to have to provide that for a while past 2014. there is no medical support capability anywhere in the world better than what we have. and we nowhere on the battlefield was the casualty without support for less than an hour. we could get a guy stabilized and to the hospital and amazing support. we have been providing that support for the afghans army and
police. and for many of the locals, local nationals. that is something that the afghans know that they are going to have to provide at least some level of care. it won't be like what we have but that's going to take time so we are going to have to stay there to help provide medvac and medical care. we are doing greatwork. not only is security operations but every member of my staff was advising in some role. my surgeon was working with their doctors. so that's going to have to continue. i think fire support is an area that is going to have to be maintained through 2014. they don't really have the capability to put rounds on
target and be absolutely precise like we can. and it makes your eyes water to see how precise our fire support systems are. and the afghans know that an erant bomb could exacerbate the problem again. that is going to have to stick around for a while. that's a little more complicates because as we lose eye balls we have to find a way to find that we have some way of seeing it. and so one of the things that we're developing particularly in the rc southwest is full motion video so that as we leave places we're maintaining systems. we have the balloons and various kinds of looking devices that we have integrated which allow us to provide instantaneous or near
instant support for the afghans when they call for fire. i think those are our three areas. probably the one area that is most delicate is that we have been working the police. as i mentioned earlier the police are the center of gravity. they are the ones that will really win this thing for the duration. we gabble in criminal investigations and evidence collection. we need to get the experts in there. we need to bring in the law enforcement experts very similar to what we did in becauosnia whr we brought in police forces, nato. i would be looking to build up that capability for the long haul. and then lastly is you know we
have made huge improvements to the point where it is almost seamless. as the conventional forces leave special operations forces will continue to be required because their capabilities are going to take a little bit longer to nurture and mature. those special operation forces will have to be there to back them up. >> general, our time is up. i have another ten questions. our time is up. thank you so much for coming here telling us this very important story for our country and for our allies and certainly for afghanistan and other partners. and thank you most of all for your service to this country and to the effort. >> thank you very much.
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