February 26, 2009

Press Conference with General Abdul Rahim Wardak, Minister of Defense, Afghanistan

In response to increased attacks from anti-government forces, President Barack Obama last week ordered the deployment of 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan by the summer. The administration, meanwhile, is reviewing U.S. strategy, seeking a sustainable and effective way to combat the insurgency and to provide space for economic and political development.

Increasing the size and capacity of the Afghan National Army is crucial to future success. Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak, Afghanistan’s Minister of Defense, will discuss his efforts to put an Afghan face on security operations and what the additional U.S. troops might mean for security and development in Afghanistan.

Born in Wardak province in 1944, Abdul Rahim Wardak studied at the Cadet University and Ali Naser Academy in Egypt. He later served as a lecturer at the Cadet University and as the assistant of protocol at the Ministry of Defense. During the war with the Soviet Union, he was the military assistant of Muhaz-e-Milli; the military assistant of the Tri-Lateral Unity; a member of Itehad-e-Mujahiddin; and commander of the Jihadi fronts of Muhaz-e-Milli. After the fall of communist regime he served as a member of the Security Committee of Kabul City; Chief of Army Staff; Director of the Military Officers Society; Director of the Education Commission; Director of Reform of the National Army; and Deputy Defense Minister. Abdul Rahim Wardak was appointed Afghanistan’s defense minister by President Hamid Karzai in December 2004.

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