(Host) Vermont National Guard Adjutant General Michael Dubie says that while the Guard’s upcoming mission in Afghanistan may be changing, it’s too soon to know for sure what that entails.
VPR’s Jane Lindholm has more.
(Lindholm) Last week, Major General Michael Dubie briefed Vermont lawmakers on potential changes to the mission of deploying Vermont Guard soldiers to Afghanistan. But, he cautions that it’s too soon to tell what, exactly, those changes might be. Speaking on Vermont Edition he said he’s concerned about all the attention his remarks have been receiving.
(Dubie) "What I’d like to be able to do is have everyone take a deep breath and wait about two or three weeks and I think we’ll be able to go public and say, ‘OK, there’s been changes; this is what the changes are.’ I could tell you things, but until I know exactly, I think it just adds to that level of uncertainty. …The last thing we want to do is have family members to start thinking that this is inherently more dangerous, because it may not be." (0:26)
(Lindholm) Dubie says he doesn’t think *anyone knows exactly what the Vermont mission will be-the entire force in Afghanistan is in flux as US and NATO commander General Stanley McChrystal reorganizes the overall strategy.
(Dubie) "I don’t think that General McChyrstal’s staff-or at least, we don’t know they know this-what the entire reorganization is going to look like. And it’s not like the 86th Brigade and Task Force Phoenix is the *only thing being reorganized. We are a piece of a very large troop level."
(Lindholm) What General Dubie says he is fairly certain about is that the troops in Task Force Phoenix will still be training and mentoring Afghan security forces. What is not yet understood is the scope of the rest of the missions the brigade will engage in, and how dangerous they may be. Dubie says that will depend on where in Afghanistan the troops are located.
(Dubie) "Unlike what we originally planned on, we may have a specific area that we’re responsible for. And inside that area we will have other missions in addition to training and mentoring….What really will determine on how much of what we call COIN, Counter-insurgency operations, will depend on the area that they give us. And there are very diverse and varying degrees of security in Afghanistan." (0:23)
(Lindholm) The 1,500 Vermont soldiers will begin departing for their one-year tour of duty this November.
For VPR News I’m Jane Lindholm.