News: New Task Force Kandahar commander optimistic about upcoming year
Story by Sgt. Richard Andrade
KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – Canadian Brig. Gen. Jonathan Vance, outgoing commander of Joint Task Force Kandahar, handed over command of JTFK to Canadian Brig. Gen. Dean Milner at a change of command ceremony on Kandahar Air field, Sept. 9.
The ceremony was attended by key Afghan and coalition force leaders along with members of the Canadian task force operating in Kandahar Province. The change of command ceremony reflected on the progress made in the past year and the continuing effort to stabilize the Afghan government and its forces.
“We are well poised to hand over [JTFK] to General Milner,” said General Vance.
He said with a great team of warriors the population will be provided with help, and the enemy will constantly be reminded of the futility of their position.
“Today is a significant day,” said General Milner.
He noted taking on the mission in Afghanistan will be challenging, but there is promise with the local government and what the country is moving toward.
This is going to be a defining year working closely with the Afghans. He stated seeing that Soldier energy levels up, the leaders and the troops are focused and ready to go out to conduct operations with extreme confidence.
Some areas in Kandahar Province are more secure than others, said Milner. With the elections coming up, the task force will be working in conjunction with its Afghan partners to ensure elections will be safe for all.
“We’ve come a long way this last 10 months,” said British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, commander of International Security Assistance Force Regional Command [South] and guest speaker at the ceremony.
Significant progress has been made in Kandahar province and the initiative is now with the forces of the Afghan government and the coalition.
Carter said the city is more secure than it was, and the police are growing in size and capability by the day.
“We have to make sure that we have a very good footprint on the ground to provide that close connection with the [Afghan] people,” said Milner.
As a result of the Taliban resurgence, Milner said the task force will still have some work to do on the security side.
“That is going to be something that we absolutely are going to be focusing on in the coming months as we conduct operations,” he said. “I am proud to have been chosen to lead this task force as we work with our Afghan and [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] partners to ensure a brighter future for all Afghans.”