Petraeus, Mortenson Assess Afghanistan Progress

Gen. David Petraeus

“Hard-won progress” has been acheived in Kabul, Helmand and Kandahar Provinces states Gen. David Petraeus in a letter to the troops dated Jan. 25, 2011.

“To be sure, nothing about the past year’s achievements was easy,” Petraeus writes. “To the contrary, our successes entailed hard fighting, tough losses and periodic setbacks along the way.”

The three page letter is addressed to the Soldiers, Sailors, Mariners, Coast Guardsmen and Civilians of the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). It outlines their core objectives, strategies and accomplishments as well as laying out the road ahead.

“Your versatility, skill, determination and courage have truly been the stuff of history,” Petraeus writes ending with this paragraph, “As always, thank you for your extraordinary service, sacrifice, skill and resolve. Each of you is part of your country’s New Greatest Generation and it is the privilege of a lifetime to serve with you in this critical endeavor.”

Greg Mortenson with Afghan students in Wakhan, 2006.

Another sign of progress in Afghanistan came to light last week when best selling author, Greg Mortenson, visited Sarasota. Author of “Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones into Schools,” Mortenson offered his assessment of progress in Afghanistan to the audience gathered to hear his lecture at the Van Wezel Hall.

“In 2000, there were 800,000 Afghan children, most of them boys, in school.” Mortenson said. “Now, there are 8 million and 2.8 million are girls.”

Mortenson’s non-profit organization, Pennies for Peace, has helped to build 174 schools in rural Afghan and Pakistan villages and several dozen temporary schools for children displaced by floods and other disasters.

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