Afghan Delegation Visits Camp Pendleton
Friday, December 2, 2011
American withdrawal from Afghanistan is imminent, so Marines have a limited time to hand over security operations to their Afghan counterparts.
Five Afghan army commanders and police chiefs visited Southern California to see the American way of doing things first hand.
First Lieutenant Rebecca Burgess of the First Marine Expeditionary Force, said the training on base for lower ranking non-commissioned officers shows leadership doesn’t stop at the top.
“That was the kind of emphasis we wanted to leave with the Afghans, that it’s not just the officers running the show,” Burgess said. "Without our NCOs we wouldn’t run smoothly, so we need to teach leadership at the very basic level.“
The Afghans also spent time at a public school on base; less than 30 percent of Afghanistan's population can read and write.
Burgess said the idea was to show the Afghans how, despite of the drastic budget cuts to California schools, Americans value education.
“It shows them that every country has its own problems,” Burgess said, “and every country is dealing with its own budget deficit. So, despite all of that, we still have education for our children. That is what we are trying to show them: that educated children are the future.”
Burgess said the delegation also went to Los Angeles to speak with inner city law enforcement and visited a Joint Operation Center in San Diego to discuss border security with the Border Patrol.