26-29 August. The Commander Joint Force Command Brunssum, General Salvatore Farina, conducted a situational awareness trip to NATO's Resolute Support Mission (RS) in Afghanistan, for which he is the out-of-theatre Operational Commander in the NATO command chain.
General Farina's visit included stops at the RS Headquarters in Kabul; Train, Advise and Assist Command (TAAC) West in Herat; TAAC North in Mazar-e Sharif; and TAAC Air in Kabul. Alongside his meetings with General John Nicholson, Commander Resolute Support, General Farina met with RS Regional Commanders, Afghan dignitaries and diplomats. Over the course of the intensive three day visit, General Farina was updated on the latest developments in NATO's RS Mission and given an opportunity to conduct meaningful discussions on the training, sustainment and resource status of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).
General Farina stated that "after completing this visit, I am convinced more than ever that the situation in Afghanistan is better than it was 12 months ago - and even six months ago - due in great part to the personal sacrifices of the men and women of the ANDSF and to the strong leadership demonstrated by Afghan and RS commanders." However, General Farina stressed that there is still insecurity and violent activity by insurgents in some areas of Afghanistan, stating that "we need to consolidate the capabilities of the Afghan Army, Air Force and Police by intensifying the train, advise and assist activities through a more flexible and tailored approach."
RS Mission is a NATO-led, non-combat mission. It was launched on 1 January 2015, following the conclusion of the previous NATO-led ISAF mission, and the assumption of full security responsibility by the ANDSF. It is designed to help the Afghan security forces and institutions develop the necessary capacity to continue defending the country and protect the population in a sustainable manner. It carries out training, advice and assistance activities at the security-related ministries, national institutional levels and at the higher levels of the army and police.
RS currently has approximately 13,000 personnel from NATO Allies and partner nations. It operates with one hub (Kabul/Bagram) and four spokes (Mazar-e-Sharif in the north, Herat in the west, Kandahar in the south, and Laghman in the east).
At the Warsaw Summit in July, NATO Allies reconfirmed their long-term commitment to Afghanistan's stability. They agreed to sustain the RS Mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces beyond 2016 and to contribute to their funding through 2020. They intend to sustain the RS Mission through a flexible, regional approach, delivering support where the Afghans most need it.