U.S. and Germen Defense Ministers arrive in Afghanistan
Thu Mar 15, 3:15 pm
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, visited Helmand province in an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Wednesday. During his visit to Helmand, Mr. Panetta met US Marines, NATO troops and Afghan officials in Southern Helmand.
Mr. Panetta said, “We will not allow anyone to wrongly define our motives as our enemies are trying to do. Our combat strategies are improving and being further developed,” he added.
The US Defense Secretary also met Helmand Governor Muhammad Gulab Mangal and called the meeting important and effective.
During his visit to Afghanistan, Mr. Panetta may also meet with some top ranking Afghan government officials.
Meanwhile, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere also arrived in Afghanistan on Wednesday. Initially, Mr. Thomas de Maiziere visited Balkh province and met with German forces based in northern Afghanistan.
On his return to Kabul, Mr. Thomas de Maiziere met with Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak.
“We will remain in Afghanistan until 2014 and continue the training of Afghan security forces and financial support, so the process ends successfully”, Mr. Thomas de Maiziere said during meeting with Mr. Wardak.
The security transition process has been properly implemented in various provinces, including some Northern provinces, Mr. Wardak said.
Germany has contributed much in the reconstruction and renovation of Afghanistan. Beside financial and other cooperation, large numbers of German forces are part of ISAF and most of these forces are based in northern Afghanistan.
The visit of the foreign officials to Afghanistan came after the desecration of the Holy Quran by US soldier at Bagram and the killing of 16 civilians in Kandahar.