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Milley: Afghanistan currently on a ‘glide path’ to closure

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Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2013 4:30 am

FORT HOOD — With 15 months left in the Afghanistan war, Fort Hood’s commander described current conditions as a “glide path” to closure.

Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, held a video news conference with Central Texas media Wednesday from his post in Kabul. He deployed in April and is currently serving as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command.

“I am 100 percent confident this army, this security force, this police force, is going to be able to carry the day by the time December 2014 comes around,” he said. “I’ve seen these guys up close. This is my third tour of combat in Afghanistan; I have a fairly decent feel for their culture, their commitment and their endurance, and these are tough folks and they are fighting for their lives.”

Milley said the 350,000 members of the Afghan National Security Forces have come a long way over the years — currently conducting about 1,000 to 2,000 patrols a day and performing well in battalion-level operations.

The challenge is at higher levels, he said. Over the next year, the advising role of American units will focus on building up combined arms operations, air support, logistics and medical systems.

“What we want to do is increase their professionalism and increase their capabilities so the playing field is utterly uneven in favor of Afghanistan,” Milley said.

Alongside these security improvements, the society has also begun to rebuild and flourish, he said. A third of the country is enrolled in school, from primary to college.

“I think this war is on a glide path because of the society fundamentals that have changed; it’s on a glide path because the capabilities of the Afghan security forces are fundamentally different.”

For more about the Afghanistan war and the contribution of Fort Hood troops, read Sunday’s Daily Herald.

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