|Transcript from COMISAF Press Conference with Pentagon Press Corps|
News Conference Transcript
GENERAL JOSEPH F. DUNFORD: I -- I spoke to at least half the crowd in Brussels and kind of gave background and -- and I realize it's a relatively slow news day here in Kabul and is -- is not actually much you want to talk about, so I could probably fill the time, if you want me to or I could actually take your questions, I'll leave -- I'll leave that up to you. If you -- if you want, I'd be happy to -- to make a few comments and if you want to, we can dive right into questions. The team here said that it would be up to you.
GEN. DUNFORD: OK, all right. I'll -- I'll -- I'll make a couple of -- I'll make a couple of comments and for those who were in Brussels, you'll have to bear with me, my, you know, I guess the good news is, my assessment won't have changed in -- in a little over a week since I -- since I saw you last.
As -- as I have spent the last few months preparing to come over here and then now on the ground about five weeks, as I look at it, I'll just go through the Taliban, I'll go through the Afghan Security Forces, what I think are the most significant challenges to the campaign and then -- and then open it up for questions.
I'll start, I suppose, with the Afghan National Security Forces and -- and my perspective having -- having watch their development since 2008 fairly regularly in a -- in a series of billets you know, particularly and visits to Marines and my previous assignments done R.C. Southwest over the years.
As I come here right now, I'm confident about the Afghan National Security Forces capability to assume the lead in the summer of 2013, associated with milestone -- associated with milestone 2013.
And, you know, there's a lot of issues that people bring up with the Afghan Security Forces and my basic framework is this, while we have challenges, literacy is a challenge, logistics are challenges, there are systems, institutions and processes that after all will be developed.
First of all, transitions are tough. Transitions in any walk of life are difficult and we're in the midst of a transition and our relationship is changing. And as I told the collective leadership of the Afghan Security Forces last week, our relationship so changing, it's maturing, we are moving to a support as they move into the lead and we're going to have to grind through issues as that -- as that occurs.
Let me take the first one, Wardak. You all know that following a National Security Council meeting I guess two Sundays ago, it might have been three, the president directed that Special Operations Forces be moved from Wardak. Subsequent to that meeting, I went to see the president and I told him that, Mr. President, I will work very closely with your Security Forces to develop a transition plan for the Wardak province.