NATO officials, including International Security Assistance Force Commander Army Gen. John Campbell, and their Afghan counterparts on Monday attended the end-of-mission ceremony in Kabul for ISAF’s Joint Command. “Everyone made a tremendous sacrifice, but those sacrifices have not been in vain,” said Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, IJC commander, in a release. “This country is safer and more prosperous than ever. The insurgents have been beaten back and the Afghan national security forces are taking the fight to the enemy,” he said. Established in 2009, the IJC was NATO’s operational headquarters for the Afghan war, directing and controlling some 130,000 troops from more than 40 nations at the height of the Afghan surge effort. IJC also worked with Afghan security forces to go after Taliban and al Qaeda sympathizers in targeted regions in the country, and build governance. With the standdown, IJC’s regional commands have been replaced with train-advise-assist commands that will focus on ensuring that support continues to Afghan security forces as NATO’s post-combat mission, Operational Resolute Support, begins in January.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.