By Claudette Roulo
Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter met with senior U.S. and Afghan officials here today to praise them for their efforts on the transition to Afghan-led security, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
Carter spoke with Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, the Afghan minister of defense, and Ghulam Mujtaba Patang, the Afghan minister of the interior, at their respective ministries.
Carter congratulated the ministers on the progress made by Afghan forces as they move toward taking the lead for security throughout Afghanistan, Little said.
The deputy secretary and the ministers “pledged to continue to work together on a number of important issues, including the sustained development of the Afghan national security forces, human capital development and a range of issues related to security transition,” he added.
The deputy secretary also praised both officials for their “dedication to improving the professionalism and capabilities of the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police,” Little said.
In the morning, Carter met with Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, and other senior ISAF officials.
During that meeting the deputy secretary commended them for their efforts and reiterated the U.S. commitment to a secure and sovereign Afghanistan, Little said.
Following his meeting with Dunford, Carter joined about 300 military and civilian personnel outside the ISAF headquarters building for a weekly memorial service honoring fallen coalition and Afghan personnel.
The deputy secretary is on the third leg of a weeklong overseas trip, and his meetings in Afghanistan are intended to underline U.S. support for the ongoing development of the Afghan security forces.