Saturday, November 29, 2008

SPMAGTF-A commander meets with RC-West, Afghan National Army commanders

Story by: Lance Cpl. Monty Burton

HERAT PROVINCE, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – Colonel Duffy W. White, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Afghanistan commander, and his staff met with commanders from Regional Command-West and the Afghan National Army’s 207th Corps Nov. 25 in the Herat Province of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

This marked the first time the commanders have met since White assumed command of SPMAGTF-A Nov. 14.

The purpose of the meetings was to discuss how SPMAGTF-A can work effectively with its International Security Assistance Force and ANA counterparts to accomplish its mission of countering the insurgency in Afghanistan, while effectively training and mentoring the Afghan National Police and ANA.

“This was basically an introductory meeting to establish relationships and make sure everybody understands what our mission is,” White said. “Everybody understands that we have to work together to get the overall mission accomplished.”

White met with RC-West Commander Brig. Gen. Paolo Serra, of the Italian Army, and discussed SPMAGTF-A’s new area of operations and measures to de-conflict and coordinate operations. Since SPMAGTF-A operates in areas of both RC- South and RC-West, coordination between the three elements is vital for each of the commands’ overall mission success in Afghanistan.

“Everybody has a role to play and a mission to accomplish,” White said. “This meeting sets the groundwork for us to operate effectively in our areas of operations.”

White also got the opportunity to meet ANA 207th Corps commander Brig. Gen. Fazil Ahmad Sayer. Sayer welcomed the SPMAGTF-A staff graciously, offering his Afghan hospitality.

“My first impression was very favorable,” White said of his meeting with Sayer.

White’s SPMAGTF-A will be assisting Sayer’s 207th Corps in counterinsurgency operations and will be training and mentoring Afghan troops in basic and advanced combat operations.

Sayer said he is looking forward to working with the Marines and is willing to accept any assistance they can provide.

White said the meetings were a success and looks forward to conducting operations with his ISAF and ANA counterparts in the future.
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