News: ‘Super shura’ held to next step forward for Khowst, Paktya
Story by Spc. Tobey White
KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Top government and military officials from Paktya and Khowst provinces met with leaders from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, in a “super shura” held on Forward Operating Base Salerno Oct. 20.
Leaders representing the government, Afghan army and police, and coalition forces in the two provinces gathered in one place to discuss the achievements recently made and identify what still needs to be done.
“If I’ve learned anything in my short time in Afghanistan, it’s that Khowst and Paktya province have to work together,” said U.S. Army Col. Chris Toner, commander of the Fort Knox, Ky., -based 3rd BCT, 1st Inf. Div., TF Duke, and a native of Topeka, Kan. “They are not separate. They are brothers with a common enemy.”
The agenda for the meeting was to discuss recent security achievements, share information and collaborate on ways to further strengthen security in the provinces.
Among the items discussed was the effect winter would have on the fighting and what preparations need to be made for next year’s summer fighting season.
Although there has been an increase in security, the officials agreed there are still many challenges to be conquered in the future.
“The Afghan National Army has [done] a good job, and I thank the coalition forces for the support they’ve given us,” said Khowst Provincial Governor Abdul Jabar Naeemi. “The focus has been on the enemy with no civilian casualties. That is something respected by us.”
Naeemi pointed out the enemy’s attempts to drive a wedge between tribal leaders, the people and their government.
“I propose we work together. Our goal is one,” Naeemi said of the Afghan and U.S. forces present. “From leadership to the lowest level, we must do everything in our power to impede the enemy and stop false propaganda.”
He also stressed the need to establish a strong and stable rule of law, one that not only focuses on the war but on normal police business as well.
In addition to increasing the police’s capabilities, the security forces need to step up and take control for their own buildings, Naeemi said.
The past few years have seen improvement as both the ANSF and coalition forces have worked together to set conditions for a safe and secure Afghanistan, said Paktya Provincial Governor Jama Khan Hamdard.
“It’s important to employ a joint effort to continue making progress down this path,” Toner said.