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Sunday, April 08, 2007

CENTCOM Chief Visits Afghanistan, Meets With Military Leaders

By Tim Kilbride
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 3, 2007 - The new commander of U.S. Central Command met with U.S. military leaders in Afghanistan last week as part of an introductory tour of U.S. operations in the Middle East and Horn of Africa.

Army Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 82, briefed CENTCOM chief Navy Adm. William Fallon during an office call March 29 about progress in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Fallon assumed his new role March 16, taking over from Army Gen. John Abizaid, who retired. The admiral is charged with overseeing U.S. combat and humanitarian efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the Horn of Africa and greater Middle East region. He previously served as the commander of U.S. Pacific Command.

Rodriguez provided the admiral an update on U.S. and coalition efforts to combat a resurgent Taliban, dismantle the al Qaeda terrorist network within Afghanistan, secure the border region with Pakistan, improve the Afghan economy and improve quality of life for Afghan men, women and children.

As head of Combined Joint Task Force 82, Rodriguez is responsible for directing U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan.

Yesterday, Rodriguez traveled to Nangarhar province to take a firsthand look at security and rebuilding activities in the northeastern part of the country. There he met with leaders of the Nangarhar Provincial Reconstruction Team, as well as the commanders of Task Force Spartan, the U.S. military team assigned with securing the region.

From his office in the provincial capital of Jalalabad, the commander of TF Spartan, Army Col. John Nicholson, briefed the general on regional operations and reviewed the array of allied and enemy forces in the area.

Rodriguez asked staff members about the local populace, government, terrain, logistics, projects and security. Paying particular attention to TF Spartan’s collaboration with Afghan authorities, Rodriguez emphasized the importance of communication and coordination of allied efforts.

In a separate meeting with PRT leaders, Rodriguez discussed regional development, allied border operations and collaborative security efforts among the Afghan security forces, the Pakistani military and coalition personnel.

Photo: Members of the Combined Joint Task Force-82 Joint Visitors Bureau welcomes Navy Adm. William Fallon, left, U.S. Central Command commander during an office call Mar. 29 on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher.

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