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By Julian Nettlefold

16 Apr 13. These were the words of Lieutenant General Nick Carter, CBE, DSO, Deputy Commander, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), who gave an upbeat assessment of the current and future state of play in Afghanistan following the recent deployment of Herrick 18. He spoke via video link form Kabul and was ably supported by Op. Herrick 17 Commander Brigadier Bob Bruce, Lt. Col. Bob Wrench of 1 Scots Regiment and Lt. Col. Matt Jackson of 40 Commando. Their upbeat views very much mirrored those of Brigadier Rupert Jones and his team we interviewed during the recent Op Herrick 18 pre-deployment briefing on Salisbury Plain.

On March 21st British Army soldiers from the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS) embarked on their scheduled deployment, as part of Operation Herrick XVIII in Afghanistan. Deployed throughout March, approximately 350 SCOTS personnel will serve as part of the 1st Mechanized Brigade-commanded Task Force Helmand, to advice and train the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in Nad ‘Ali, Nahr-e Saraj and Lashkar Gah provinces. Additional tasks will include assistance to higher authorities during the training of new Afghan police officers at the Lashkar Gah Training Centre (LTC), to help support ANSF’s mission to bring security and stability in the country. 2 SCOTS commanding officer lieutenant colonel Robin Lindsay said the provision of assistance and advice to Afghan police, now responsible for security in most of the country, as ‘a very valuable and worthwhile task’. In order to ensure readiness to work with Afghan police over the next six months, 2 SCOTS troops have completed a comprehensive nine-month training programme, involving cultural training and conflict resolution. Meanwhile, the Royal Navy’s 847 Naval Air Squadron has already been deployed to safeguard troop movements in and around Helmand province in Afghanistan. The squadron is using Lynx multi-role helicopters to provide cover to the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Chinook helicopters during troop transport in the battlefield. Deployment of UK units for Operation Herrick represents the country’s overall contribution to the Nato-led International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) in Afghanistan. (Source: army-technology.com) (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.15 ISSUE 13, 25 March 2013, Op Herrick XVIII deployment)

“The key issue from the recent deployment to withdrawal in 2014 is Transition. We will announce Tranche 5 of the Transition Milestone 13 next month.” General carter said. “The NATO Mission has been refocused to Train, Advise, Assist and Support and deploy on combat missions when required in support of the Afghan armed forces and Police.”

General Carter outlined key equipment requirements required by the Afghan National Army (ANA) to perform its future missions as standalone national force – Airpower, logistics, Counter IED technology and medevac capability by air.

“The ANA need force for reversibility as the summer fighting season gets underway, the ANA is assuming the lead in all combat missions at National level whilst ISAF continues to advise and assist at Battalion and Police level and will only step in at a National level if requested. The ANA will have complete responsibility by the end of 2014.” General Carter continued. “The key task for ISAF next year is to secure the country for the forthcoming elections following Milestone 13. There are now 25 ANA Brigades up from 20 last year; they will suffer setbacks, particularly without airpower, sadly they lost 11 soldiers on a recent mission. One item of particular concern is the confusion of rhetoric emanating from Pakistan. But, as we withdraw the rhetoric of the Jihad that is Muslim Vs. Westerners will cease to have its effectiveness as with the ANA taking control it will become Muslim Vs. Muslim, thus the Insurgency will need to think again.”

General Carter’s observations on the improving lif

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