U.S. Defense Secretary praises accomplishments of Afghanistan surge

U.S. Defense Secretary praises accomplishments of Afghanistan surge

The United States has completed its draw down of the surge forces committed to Afghanistan in December 2009, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Friday, Xinhua reported.

During a visit to New Zealand, where he thanked his hosts for their military contribution to the NATO-led force in Afghanistan and expressed his condolences for five New Zealand soldiers killed there last month, Panetta issued a statement saying the surge had completed its objectives.

The surge had seen U.S. forces in Afghanistan increase by 33, 000 troops and had succeeded in reversing Taliban momentum on the battlefield and struck enormous blows against the Al-Qaida leadership, he said.

"It is important to underscore that even as our surge troops return home, there are roughly 68,000 Americans who remain in a tough fight in Afghanistan, alongside their NATO and Afghan partners. We are a nation at war. But the international community is also strongly united behind our shared strategy to transition to Afghan security control, which will be completed by the end of 2014," said Panetta.

The statement came the same day that the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) announced its final contingent of personnel to Afghanistan would depart for a six-month deployment on Sept. 25.

The contingent, made up of personnel from 2nd/1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment and supporting units, would be the 21st rotation to serve in the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team (NZ PRT) in Bamyan Province, said a statement from the NZDF.

Also Friday, Panetta announced the ban on New Zealand navy vessels visiting U.S. ports has been lifted after almost three decades.

Panetta, the first U.S. Defense Secretary to visit New Zealand in 30 years, announced the move in Auckland after talks with New Zealand Defence Minister Jonathon Coleman and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.

Panetta said New Zealand was a true friend of the United States and the two countries would strengthen their relationship, and part of that would see New Zealand Navy ships in U.S. ports, Radio New Zealand reported.

The ban on New Zealand navy ships was highlighted in July when the United States refused to allow two New Zealand navy vessels entry to the military port at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for the world' s biggest maritime military exercise.

The New Zealand vessels were the only ships out of 42 vessels from 11 of the 22 countries taking part in Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) to be excluded from docking in Pearl Harbor.

Panetta's visit follows the signing of the Washington Declaration defense cooperation agreement between the two countries, in talks between Coleman and Panetta in June.

The Washington Declaration enhanced cooperation in key areas that New Zealand and the U.S. had been working on closely together over the past two years: maritime security, including counter- proliferation, counter-terrorism, and anti-piracy.

It also set out cooperation for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the region, and promoted peace-keeping and peace-support initiatives.

Military links between New Zealand and the U.S. have been warming since November 2010, when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and McCully signed the Wellington Declaration, which outlines fields of cooperation between the two nations, including climate change, renewable energy, trade, security and economic development.

Military relations between the U.S. and New Zealand went into a long chill in 1985 after New Zealand introduced a ban on nuclear- powered and nuclear-armed vessels in its waters, and the U.S. refused to confirm or deny whether its vessels were carrying nuclear weapons, bringing an end to U.S. Navy visits.

Moscow hosts trilateral meeting on Karabakh
Moscow hosts trilateral meeting on Karabakh
Despite events in Armenia, it's necessary to continue implementation of agreements on Nagorno-Karabakh -  Russian official
Despite events in Armenia, it's necessary to continue implementation of agreements on Nagorno-Karabakh - Russian official
Supplies of 'Iskander' missiles to Armenia must be stopped – Russian expert
Supplies of 'Iskander' missiles to Armenia must be stopped – Russian expert
Loading Bars
Latest
Deposits dev’t of Turkmenistan’s Uzynada field to increase oil, gas condensate production
Kazakhstan's only lowcoster launching direct flights to Turkey
Azerbaijan names amount of compensations paid to closed banks' depositors
Georgia reports 390 new COVID-19 cases for March 5
Russia documents 11,024 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours
Turkmenistan plans to drill new wells at North Goturdepe field
Public catering turnover for January 2021 in Baku drops
Kazakhstan to commission several new petrochemical plants
Kazakhstan preparing concept for further Kashagan field dev't
Uniper increases natural gas sales
Uniper sees €160 million increase in adjusted net income y-o-y
International Fund for Agricultural Development helping Georgia modernize agriculture sector
Uzkimyosanoat, Shell talk modernization of Uzbekistan’s chemical enterprises
Kazakhstan’s Almaty Power Stations JSC opens tender for electrical work services
Kazakhstan boosts trade turnover with China in 2020
President Ilham Aliyev delivers speech at congress of ruling party
With OPEC+ restraint in place during April, upward pressure on prices to continue
President Aliyev sends condolences to President Erdogan regarding helicopter crash
Uzbekistan, Belarus agree on increasing permits for road transport of goods for 2021
Rosselkhoznadzor allows number of Uzbek companies to import tomatoes to Russia
Saipem to take part in green hydrogen hub creation in Italy
Kazakhstan announces 2021 oil production plans
Average monthly salary in Baku in 2020 grows
Azerbaijan shares footage from Fuzuli's Yukhary Rafadinli village (VIDEO)
US congressman Steve Cohen issues statement on Khojaly tragedy's anniversary
Kazakhstan to start partial sales of petroleum products through commodity exchanges
Turkmenistan defines tasks for "Single Window for export-import operations"
Kazakhstan to increase oil extraction volumes within OPEC+ agreement
Kazakhstan’s KazTransOil opens tender for wells servicing
Azerbaijan's Aghdam - now huge field of ruins, BBC report says (VIDEO)
Southern Gas Corridor CJSC's needs for cash in 2021 to be fully covered by proceeds from projects
Azerbaijani currency rates for March 5
Uzbek chemical production company to buy technological equipment via tender
Azerbaijani oil prices on the rise
Creator of Tukish 'Bayraktar' UAV talks General, who died in helicopter crash
Uzbekistan reveals its COVID-19 data for March 5
Ceyhan terminal transships over 36 million tons of ACG oil since early 2021
Oil prices surge as OPEC+ extends output cuts into April
Uzbekistan’s fiscal policy to continue supporting economic recovery - Fitch Ratings
Azerbaijani FM extends condolences to Turkey over helicopter crash
Kazakhstan eyes to strengthen interaction with int'l financial organizations
Azerbaijan's Ministry of Ecology plans to implement projects in liberated territories
Azerbaijan records growth in Jan.2021 lending to agricultural sector
Turkmenistan's Balkan region opens tender for recreation center construction
Kazakhstan’s COVID-19 daily case count stands at 857
Turkey reports 11,322 new COVID-19 cases
Official says satisfied with results of human trial of Iranian COVID-19 vaccine
WHO Europe hopeful Covid-19 vaccines arrive in Georgia in coming weeks
Azerbaijani defense minister expresses condolences to Turkish side
China sets modest GDP growth target as economy improves
Kazakhstan may take part in restoration of Azerbaijani liberated lands
Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Tonga evacuate people over tsunami threat
6.5-magnitude quake hits Kermadec Islands region
Uzbek and Belarusian experts to exchange experience in standardization
Italy reports nearly 23,000 new COVID-19 cases as some see "third wave"
5.9-magnitude quake jolts central Greece, no injuries reported
Georgian Railway expects to refinance Eurobonds
UK records another 6,573 coronavirus cases, 242 deaths
Azerbaijan agrees to continue existing oil production cuts in April (PHOTO)
7.3-magnitude quake hits waters off New Zealand
Armenia can also benefit from regional transportation projects if behaves in normal way - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan becomes one of Eurasia's main and reliable transportation, logistics hub - President Aliyev
We invite ECO member states to benefit from “Zangazur corridor” - President of Azerbaijan
We condemn unequal, unfair distribution of vaccines among developing and developed countries - President Aliyev
Now we are looking into future - President Aliyev
Military victory over Armenia on battlefield was also fully accomplished by political ways - President Aliyev
Stronger Turkey is, stronger is Azerbaijan and all its partners - President Aliyev
IAEA chief: Technical meeting with Iran to be held in April
WHO praises Georgia for curbing Covid-19
Belarusian BELAVIA airlines operating one-way flights on Baku-Minsk route
Macron to spare Paris region from weekend lockdown, for now
Kazakhstan determines priorities of foreign policy
Compliance services become more relevant in Azerbaijan - PASHA Bank
Several servicemen killed in military helicopter crash in Turkey
Azerbaijan doing everything to create new transport infrastructure in South Caucasus – Russian analyst
New reality created in South Caucasus - head of department at Istanbul Kadir Has University
Demining of Azerbaijani lands complicated by Armenia’s refusal to provide maps of minefields - Expert
Long-awaited end to Karabakh conflict creates new opportunities - Former US ambassador to Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan shows footage from Kechikli village of Zangilan district (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan interested in strengthening export and investment potential with Argentina
President Aliyev gives speech at virtual Summit of Economic Cooperation Organization (PHOTO/VIDEO)
MFA shares potential sectors of Lithuanian investment in Georgia
Georgian kiwi enters Japanese market
Azerbaijan's ENGINET company talks unique solutions for local market
Kazakh gold extracting venture opens tender to buy spares
Kazakhstan intends to attract funds to improve energy efficiency of facilities
Volume of food products sold in Baku's trade network increases
Georgia shows progress in curbing coronavirus cases - WHO
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry allocates funds for maintenance services
Restaurant business subsidizing program launched in Tbilisi
UK's Johnson says Brexit problems in Northern Ireland are solvable
Supporting Member Country ECAs: ICIEC endorse supportive reinsurance treaty with JLGC
Uztekstilprom, French Proparco talk profitable financing for textile projects
Georgian consulting company launching project for female entrepreneurs
Georgian wine export to US down
Russia and Azerbaijan lead in import of electricity to Georgia
Several low-cost airlines resume flights to Georgia
Azerbaijan-Belarus foreign trade operations for Jan. 2021 revealed
Azerbaijan confirms 124 more COVID-19 recoveries
Kazakhstan increasing control over development of oil and gas fields
All news