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‘Recent US political changes won’t affect Afghan army plans’

By Afkar Abdullah / 20 November 2006

DUBAI — The recent political developments in the US with Democrats capturing the Congress and promising to make changes in the American foreign policy would not affect the plans of the US coalition in Afghanistan as its main focus is on building the Afghan National Army (ANA), said Brigadier General Douglas A Pritt, Task Force Commander of the Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix in Afghanistan.

Brigadier Pritt told Khaleej Times that there is no deadline for ending coalition operations in Afghanistan.

The coalition and the Afghan government are trying to create a national army with representations from all the ethnic groups, he said. “Currently, the security situation in Afghanistan is improving as the coalition is working closely with Afghan nationals to maintain safety.”

“Our goal is to make the ANA a professional army capable of providing a safe and secure environment and defeat terrorism within the borders of Afghanistan. That mission has recently been expanded to include training and supporting selected elements of the Afghan Police organisations in certain areas of the country. Our mission includes everything, from supervising the training of new soldiers to coordinating the operations of the newly established Afghan National War College,” he said.

Replying to a question about the ANA, the police force and the government ‘s capabilities to run the country without the support of the US coalition, Brig Pritt said the ANA will definitely be able to provide professional security services and ensure a safe environment in the country.

Regarding the coalition’s achievements in Afghanistan, he said the alliance has been successful in such areas as ensuring security in various parts of the country by working closely with the ANA and the police forces.

“The ANA is now involved in the rebuilding process and supporting humanitarian services and sharing professional partnership with the US coalition forces in order to improve the quality of life for citizens.”
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