By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 3, 2010 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff discussed progress and challenges in Afghanistan with top military and diplomatic officials during a three-hour visit here today.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen arrived this morning and met with Navy Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward, commander of the newly established Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435.
The Task Force, which stood up Sept. 1, works in partnership with the Afghan government and U.S. interagency and international partners. It conducts detention and corrections operations, works with Afghanistan’s judicial sector and collects biometrics for identification records. Ultimately, officials said, the task force will transition detention operations to Afghan control while promoting rule-of-law practices.
Mullen then met with U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl W. Eikenberry, followed by a meeting with Kirk E. Meyer, director of the Afghan Threat Finance Cell, an interagency operation set up in 2009 by the U.S. government to gather intelligence on how the insurgency finances its operations and how to shut down its money supplies.
The chairman’s next meeting was with Army Brig. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who recently arrived here to serve as a deputy in strategic plans and policy for the International Security Assistance Force. While serving in Iraq, McMaster developed tactics that have been folded into the counterinsurgency strategy.
A meeting over lunch with Army Gen. David H. Petraeus capped the chairman’s visit to Afghanistan’s capital and marked the second time they’ve met since Petraeus took command of ISAF and U.S. forces in Afghanistan in early July.
On the way to Kabul from Islamabad, Pakistan, this morning, Mullen told reporters he expected they would discuss overall principles tied to the transition of security responsibility to Afghan security forces, as well as challenges that affect that effort.