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News and Views

Humvees Headed to Afghanistan

Before it became a popular consumer car, the Humvee (known commercially as the Hummer) was a recognized and respected military vehicle. Produced by AM General, measuring 15 feet in length and weighing in at over 5,200 pounds, the Humvee's powerful engine and high ground clearance has seen it used by 46 countries around the world, both for military and civilian purposes. Now Afghanistan is set to receive an increased number of the vehicles for its growing national army and police force.

On Friday, August 8, Ambassador Said T. Jawad visited the Humvee production plant in South Bend, Indiana to review the vehicle and increase Afghanistan's request for Humvees. Currently, Afghanistan is in the process of the receiving its initial order of 1,400 of the heavy-duty vehicles; officials have expressed their desire to increase the total number to 5,000 for the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP).

During his visit, Ambassador Jawad stressed the importance of proper equipment in combating his country’s insurgency. "Before the delivery of Humvees started, we were losing about 100 police officers in Afghanistan each month," he stated. Prior to the arrival of the Humvees, members of the ANA and ANP rode in the open backs of pickup trucks. The government hopes the introduction of Humvees will dramatically decrease casualties among the Afghan security forces.

In addition to touring the assembly facility, Ambassador Jawad also met with Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.). "We're partners in this effort to provide security and peace around the word, and the ambassador knows he can count on us," Donnelly explained. AM General officials were likewise pleased with the visit and excited to help in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Craig MacNab, AM General’s Director of Public Relations, stated, "Part of what they're doing right now is equipping the national army with the same type of equipment our people use because they recognize the stuff our people have is the best stuff there is."

Ambassador Jawad left the facility pleased with the prospects for the ANA and ANP when outfitted with the Humvee. "These kinds of vehicles provide a lot of mobility to the limited number of forces we have, both for Afghanistan and the international forces. They enable them to go and chase the bad guy."

The ANA is being built into a strong, well-respected security force. While in March 2003 it only had 1,750 troops, this year it reached 76,000 troops, close to the 80,000 target set for 2009. Under a new plan unveiled by the Afghan government and backed by $20 billion from the U.S., the ANA will increase to 120,000 troops over the next five years. Equipment upgrades - including Humvees - have allowed ANA troops to take the lead of a number of security operations, and in August 2008 the ANA is set to take control of security in Kabul. In a 2007 poll, 87 percent of Afghans said they could trust the ANA.

Related News: Afghan Ambassador Does Business In Person at AM General (WNDU)

                      Afghan Ambassador Visits Area (South Bend Tribune)

                      Afghanistan's Army Takes Shape (The Economist)

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