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NATO’s new training mission for Afghanistan is activated in Kabul

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Less than nine months after NATO’s Heads of State and Government announced the establishment of the NATO Training Mission for Afghanistan (NTM-A), at the Alliance’s Summit meeting in Strasbourg-Kehl, the NATO Flag was raised today at Camp Eggers in Kabul marking the start of NATO’s mission to enhance training and mentoring of the Afghan National Security Forces.

This new Alliance mission will merge with the US-led Combined Security Transition Command (CSTC-A) to foster new and existing relationships and build on the already expanding task of training and mentoring the Afghan National Security Forces in preparation for the future security and sustainment of Afghanistan.  In particular NTM-A will build on its training capacity with the Afghan National Army, while adding much needed emphasis on training the Afghan National Police. Building capability, capacity and quality of ANSF forces will enable the Government of Afghanistan to take the lead in bringing security and stability to Afghanistan. “Our mission is about teaming with Afghans to build a bright, dynamic future for this sovereign nation.  As the NTM-A/CSTC-A mission has evolved, so has the mindset governing our outlook and perspective,” said Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell, IV, the new commander of NTM-A and CSTC-A. “This new mindset, a mindset that challenges us to focus on the people of Afghanistan, requires us to be agile, adaptive, culturally respectful, and innovative.  With this mission, and this new mindset, the path to success for NTM-A/CSTC-A lies with 3 T’s; teaming, transparency, and transition.” Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell, IV, the new commander of NTM-A, intends to continue focusing coalition forces efforts on Afghanistan’s sustainability as a free and open society. Afghan Minister of Defense H.E. Minister Wardak, Afghan Minister of the Interior H.E. Minister Atmar, International Security Assistance Force, Commanding General Gen. Stanley McChrystal, and more than 400 soldiers, civilians and partner nation representatives attended the activation and change-of-command ceremony. The former commander of CSTC-A, Maj. Gen. Richard P. Formica, applauded previous successes while looking to the future with a sense of optimism and pride with the establishment of NTM-A. NTM-A will enhance capacity building by providing more opportunities for all NATO nations to become involved in ANSF development.  The increased involvement by NATO member nations will help train more Afghan soldiers and police officers, which in turn will allow the Afghan Government to take on more responsibility for their own security. “It has been my honor and privilege to serve here in Afghanistan, said Formica.   Those of us who serve here recognize the strategic importance of this mission and we welcome the opportunity to contribute to brining stability and security to the people of Afghanistan.” Preceding the activation of NTM-A, an official change-of-command ceremony was held at Camp Eggers where Lt. Gen. Caldwell assumed authority from Maj. Gen. Formica.