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Afghanistan's Minister of Defense Meets with Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns


Minister of Defense General Abdul Rahim Wardak met with U.S. Undersecretary of State for Policy Nicholas Burns on November 22. Minister Wardak expressed the gratitude of the Afghan people for the many contributions the United States has made towards Afghanistan’s reconstruction since 2001. The Minister particularly thanked the American people for sending their sons and daughters to help secure Afghanistan.

Minister Wardak briefed Undersecretary Burns on the security situation in Afghanistan and the progress made in building the Afghan National Army (ANA). Minister Wardak emphasized the need to meet the goal of increasing the number of the ANA forces to 70,000 by 2008 and to provide them with the necessary combat training and equipment. In addition, Minister Wardak expressed his appreciation for the role that the NATO-led International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) were playing in stabilizing Afghanistan. He spoke highly of the British, Canadian, and Dutch forces deployed along the ANA in Afghanistan's restive southern provinces, and pointed out that the effectiveness of the NATO-ISAF forces in Afghanistan depends on the full commitment of the NATO member states to fighting terrorism in Afghanistan.  Minister Wardak cautioned against NATO operational restrictions or “national caveats” that bar some troop contributors from deployment to the south and east of Afghanistan.

Amassador Said T. Jawad and Lt. General Karl Eikenberry, Commander of Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan, accompanied Minister Wardak to the meeting.

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