Thursday, July 14, 2011

DTN News - AFGHAN WAR NEWS: First Batch Of 1,000 U.S. Soldiers Leave From Bagram Air Base In Afghan Drawdown

DTN News - AFGHAN WAR NEWS: First Batch Of 1,000 U.S. Soldiers Leave From Bagram Air Base In Afghan Drawdown
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada / BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - July 14, 2011: The first troops to leave Afghanistan as part of the U.S. drawdown handed over their slice of battlefield yesterday to a unit less than half their size and started packing for home.
When the 650 members of the Iowa National Guard’s 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry Regiment arrived in Afghanistan in November 2010, bases didn’t have enough housing, translators were in short supply and chow halls were packed. Commanders were using a buildup of 33,000 extra troops for a major push that they said would turn the tide of the war against the Taliban insurgency.
Nine months later, it’s unclear whether that push has succeeded, but the pullback has begun. Although major combat units are not expected to start leaving until late fall, two National Guard regiments totaling about 1,000 soldiers are withdrawing this month: the Iowa soldiers from Parwan province in eastern Afghanistan, and the other group from the capital, Kabul.
U.S. President Barack Obama announced last month that he will pull 10,000 of the extra troops out in 2011 and the remaining 23,000 by the summer of 2012.
Three hundred soldiers will take over from the 650 departing troops who oversaw security in Parwan, including the area outside the main U.S. military base at Bagram.
In violence yesterday, a suicide bomber killed five French soldiers guarding a meeting between NATO officers and Afghan tribal elders northeast of Kabul.
The deaths, confirmed in a statement from President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, occurred one day after he visited Kabul and announced that France will withdraw 1,000 of its approximately 4,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012. Meanwhile, the commander of the outgoing unit said yesterday that he expects his successors will be able to build on his unit’s accomplishments.
“They may not be as robust as us, or have as many as us, but they certainly will have the ability to secure the Bagram security zone,” said Army Lt. Col. David Updegraff. He said he could have completed his mission with a smaller force, but the extra numbers made it significantly easier.
Some in the 113th said 650 soldiers were barely enough.
Outgoing soldiers said they needed all their numbers to do the type of intensive training and mentoring called for by a strategy focused on building up the Afghan forces. They had to spend extra time demonstrating techniques to Afghan police officers who were illiterate, and they had to teach Afghan soldiers basic map-reading skills, said Staff Sgt. Doug Stanger, 42, of Iowa.
Information from The New York Times was included in this story.
U.S. war dead
Includes combat and noncombat military deaths:
• In Afghanistan, 1,580 have died since military operations began on Oct. 7, 2001.
• In Iraq, 4,472 have died since military operations began on March 19, 2003.
Note: The Afghan toll includes
deaths in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. Both tolls include those who died from their wounds after returning to the United States or Germany.
Sources: Defense Department,
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News



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