GARDEZ, AFGHANISTAN - A mission for some Fort Hood soldiers deployed in Afghanistan is almost complete after years of training law enforcement in the southeastern part of Afghanistan, according to deputy commander for the 1st Cavalry Division Colonel Matthew Van Wagenen.
Task Force Southeast oversees 22,000 soldiers from the Afghanistan National Army, plus another 22,000 Afghan police officers. The Deputy Commander for Support for the 1st Cavalry Division Col. Matthew Van Wagenen said the key to their success is building a trusting relationship with the Afghan soldiers and police officers, and understanding the Afghan culture.
Part of the group includes 1st Cavalry soldiers from Fort Hood. They are focused on advising more than training at this point. The Afghan Army and police in the Paktiya province are much more stable than the rest of Afghanistan, thanks to the work and effort of Fort Hood's heroes in uniform.
The Paktiya province was a tense region over the past decade, but it's slowly beginning to change.
"Remarkably it has become stable over past 2 years, which I think has done a lot to develop the Afghans, by no means is the work done," Van Wagenen said.
Because of the Task Force's efforts, the Paktiya region sees less violence and more stability. Van Wagenen attributes the strides made in the Paktiya province to the positive relationship developed between the Afghan police and the civilians.
The task force commander told Channel 6 they planned 2 large corps operations in the last 60 days. But the main measure of success is yet to come--Afghan law enforcement operating completely alone.
"The ultimate goal is for 203rd Corps. and 303rd don't need us anymore, nothing more we can do for them. This platform will close and this mission will come to an end. The timing is unknown right now, but that's really the ultimate success," Van Wagenen said.
The troops are headed home in the fall. The Colonel said they are looking forward to seeing their families after deployment for almost a year.
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