News: Farewell dinner with powerbrokers
Story by Staff Sgt. Jason Ragucci
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan-- Special guest, Maj. Gen. Robert B. Abrams, shared a personal dinner with Haji Tor Jan New Year’s Eve.
The farewell dinner was in honor of the outgoing commander of 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Lt. Col. Patrick Michaelis. Tor Jan owns the land of U.S. Military Camp Nathan Smith and resides inside the Afghan Uniform Police and school compound.
Lt. Col. Kevin Wallace, commander of 6th Sqdn., 1st Cav. Regt., 1st BCT, 1st Armored Division; Capt. Kelly Hasselman, commander of the Female Engagement Team and Sgt 1st Class Severine Banks, acting first sergeant for the FET, were also part of the guest list.
Tor Jan and Aktar Mohamed, an Afghan powerbroker, wanted to express to Abrams that Michaelis was more like a brother to them.
“I have heard great things about Haji Tor Jan from Michaelis and I want to know from the men in Kandahar Province concepts for a better Kandahar in the future,” said, Abrams.
Haji Hakeem, also an Afghan powerbroker, stated that the security situation in Kandahar City has greatly improved and will continue to improve with help of the U.S. military.
“We are very grateful for the changes the U.S. military has done for the people of Afghanistan in schools and security,” said Hakeem through a translator.
Mohamed started by saying that the Afghan Local Police is a great program and has been very effective at removing the insurgents at the village level. Mohamed continued by explaining the support of fuel and close air support has been very helpful for the Afghan National Security forces at removing the insurgents from the population.
Abrams, Tor Jan, Hakeem, Mohamed, and Michaelis sat at the head of the sitting area and casually continued their conversation. The question is presented to the host concerning the recent release of 83 dangerous insurgents from the prison in the north.
Tor Jan explained that the government of Afghanistan is trying to build peaceful relation with the Taliban. However, the Taliban have not followed through with their statements of peace.
The next question to the gentlemen was the 2014 elections, and who they believed will run for president. The men joked about potential nominees running for president. Tor Jan stated that he may run for president. To that, Abrams replied he would be honored to dine with the next president of Afghanistan.
“It is of the upmost importance that the election is fair and open,” said Abrams.
Finally, Tor Jan explained that Michaelis has done a great job and requested that Abrams make him a full bird colonel. Half joking and half serious, Abrams replied, “He is already on that path.”