Mission Transition

In coming weeks, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force will take a step back and assume more of a support role as Afghan security forces take the lead for security in Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Jake Polumbo, director of ISAF’s Air Component Coordination Element in Kabul, told Pentagon reporters on Tuesday. Speaking to the stateside reporters via satellite connectivity, Polumbo emphasized that US and coalition forces would continue to work alongside the Afghans to achieve four “mutual goals.” The first is to build a “confident and self-reliant Afghan National Security Force,” said Polumbo. The second is to deprive al Qaeda of safe haven, rendering the terrorist organization ineffective. The third goal is to achieve an “acceptable political transition” through “free and fair elections next year,” he said. Finally, Afghan and coalition partners hope to “improve regional security relationships,” particularly with Pakistan, he said. “The ISAF commander is confident these goals are achievable, but he reminds his staff every day that they’re not inevitable,” said Polumbo during the April 23 video teleconference. (Polumbo transcript)