Coalition forces in Afghanistan are implementing corrective measures following the conclusion of the official investigation into the deadly incident (see entry below) between US and Pakistani military forces on the Afghan-Pakistani border in late November. Among them, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force will “establish an environment of improved, mutual trust among stakeholders” in the border areas; “clarify authorities, responsibilities, and standard operating procedures” for near-border operations; “develop formal individual training, collective training exercises, and drills” to gain confidence with cross-border coordination; and fully disclose “all border area facilities and installations—including installations on both sides of the border,” stated US Central Command in a release. Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, CENTCOM commander, directed ISAF Commander Gen. John Allen, also a marine, to make these changes. “The strongest take-away from this incident is the fundamental fact that we must improve border coordination and this requires a foundational level of trust on both sides of the border,” said Mattis. (CENTCOM border incident report; caution, large-sized file.) (See also AFPS report by Cheryl Pellerin)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.