Local News

Fort Bragg commander reflects on Afghanistan mission

Posted October 30, 2014 6:25 p.m. EDT
Updated October 30, 2014 7:32 p.m. EDT

— In January, there were about 54,000 American and coalition troops in Afghanistion.

By the end of the year, that number will be less than 10,000.

Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, the commander of Fort Bragg, said the mission has changed from fighting to teaching the Afghan National Security Force how to run their own army.

"Obviously, it will take a lot less people to do that, and that will be the enduring commitment here into 2015,” Anderson said. “But where we are as a tactical footprint right now, they are in very good shape."

Anderson said the Taliban has not been able to effect change. Coalition forces used brute force to stop the Taliban from disrupting elections in April and June. While the Afghans head down a new path towards democracy, the Taliban is searching for its future.

“So their choices now are, how do they play, what hand do they play in trying to negotiate with the new government,” Anderson said.

The price of freedom has been costly in American lives. The general wants to assure those who lost loved ones that their soldier didn't die in vain.

“All their efforts have made significant change here, impact in terms of the quality of life for the people (and) the capability of the Afghan National Security Forces," Anderson said.