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Admiral Mullen Visits Afghanistan, Meets with President Karzai

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen visited Afghanistan on July 10, 2008 as part of a six-day trip to the region to meet with U.S. soldiers deployed abroad.

While in Kabul, Admiral Mullen met with senior members of the Afghan government, including President Hamid Karzai, Defense Minister Rahim Wardak and General Bismillah Khan, Chief of Staff of the Afghan National Army. Discussions were held on the security situation, the recent surge in enemy attacks, the ongoing fight against insurgents, coordination in military operations and prospects for improvements in the security sector.

He also met with American soldiers stationed at Camp Barber and presented medals to 12 American paratroopers stationed in the Korengal Valley for their achievements in combat.

After departing from Kabul, Admiral Mullen made a brief stop in Pakistan, where he met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, National Security Adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani, and the Army Chief of Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. During his talks with Pakistan’s leadership, Admiral Mullen spoke about the importance of a stronger commitment needed to control the border areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as additional support in combating terrorism.

Upon his arrival back to Washington, on Wednesday, July 16 Admiral Mullen and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates held a joint press conference at the Pentagon where they signaled their interest in having more troops to be deployed in Afghanistan. It was mentioned that a shift in priority from Iraq to Afghanistan was a result of the increase in violent attacks by insurgents in Afghanistan. U.S. commanders in Afghanistan have been asking for more troops during the past few months. Admiral Mullen indicated that if the security situation continues improving in Iraq, he would recommend additional troops to be sent to Afghanistan. At the press conference, it was also mentioned that the government of Pakistan would have to do more in preventing insurgents from crossing the border into Afghanistan.

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