By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2010 – “A very tough fight” remains in Afghanistan that will demand more hard work and sacrifice, President Barack Obama acknowledged today while visiting Fort Bliss, Texas, to thank troops there for advancing the mission in Iraq.
“It is going to be a tough slog” in Afghanistan, Obama told 1st Armored Division “Old Ironsides” soldiers just returned from Iraq, where the U.S. combat mission officially ends tomorrow.
“A lot of families have been touched by the war in Iraq. A lot of families are now being touched in Afghanistan,” he said. “We've seen casualties go up because we're taking the fight to al-Qaida and the Taliban and their allies.”
Obama emphasized the government’s commitment to prevent another 9/11-style attack from striking the U.S. homeland. “We are going to go after those who perpetrated that crime, and we are going to make sure that they do not have safe haven,” he said.
The president expressed confidence that the proper leadership and troop strength on the ground will ensure the success of the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. “Now, under the command of [Army] General [David H.] Petraeus, we have the troops who are there in a position to start taking the fight to the terrorists,” he said.
“That's going to mean some casualties, and it's going to mean some heartbreak,” the president said. “But the one thing that I know from all of you is that when we put our minds to it, we get things done and we're willing to make some sacrifices on behalf of our security here at home.”
Fort Bliss currently has five units supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: 31st Combat Support Hospital; 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment; 202nd Military Police Company; 377th Transportation Company; and the 16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.