Fort Hood soldiers heading home after helping build democracy in Afghanistan

Jillian Angeline reports.

Some 1st Cavalry Division soldiers are preparing to return to Fort Hood later in August, as they finish up a mission in Afghanistan.  The 1st Cav Division soldiers have been advising and assisting Afghan security forces as part of Task Force Southeast.

As the Taliban continues to threaten stability in the landlocked country, the Commander of Task Force Southeast Colonel Matthew Van Wagenen said Afghan security forces have been holding their own south of Kabul -- the nation's capitol.

"There's been huge strides in security this year with 1st Cavalry Division advisers," Col. Van Wagenen told Channel 6 Military Reporter Jillian Angeline.

Members of the 1st Cavalry Division's Task Force Southeast have been deployed to Afghanistan for between nine months to a year. During that time, they have played an important role in advising and assisting local law enforcement, as Afghans prepare for their first ever local elections next summer.

"Comparable to the United States, they're going to be electing mayors of cities and Governors of what would be comparable to states, provinces so this is a huge step which will bring more stability in long term," Col. Van Wagenen explained.

If the Army leaves one legacy behind, Deputy Commander--Support for 1st Cav. Division Col. Van Wagenen hopes it will be the creation of a safer place for democracy to thrive.

"I think the biggest thing we've done is help build up the security forces where they're going to be able to create the conditions where people can go to the polling stations unhindered," he said.

Col. Van Wagenen said it would be tough for his team to say goodbye to their Afghan counterparts, with whom many Fort Hood soldiers have forged deep personal relationships.

Even with the progress made, Col. Van Wagenen said the Afghan forces would continue to require help from NATO forces and other U.S. Soldiers. The 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart in Georgia will replace the Task Force Southeast team.

© 2017 KCEN-TV


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