GEN Nicholson Speech at Marines TOA in Helmand, Afghanistan
Resolute Support Headquarters
Jan. 15, 2018 | 12:40
The first rotation of Task Force Southwest, led by U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General Roger B. Turner, Jr., transferred authority of the train, advise and assist mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan to a new rotation of Marines, led by Brigadier General Benjamin T. Watson, in a ceremony at Camp Shorab, January 15, 2018.

Task Force Southwest was established in April 29, 2017, and has advised the Afghan National Army 215th Corps and 505th Zone National Police down to the brigade and kandak levels. The incoming rotation of Task Force Southwest will continue to build on the success of their predecessors with increased capacity and capability.

General John W. Nicholson, commander Resolute Support, gave a speech on the occasion which is uploaded here in full length.

"I want to lead off by addressing the formation and who you represent, the soldiers of the 215th corps, the police in the 505th Zone and the NDS.
The momentum in Afghanistan now has shifted in favor of these forces. The ANDSF are confident and capable of carrying the fight to the enemy and with our help they will sustain this over the coming year.
As we speak the ANDSF are conducting offensive operations in 13 of Afghanistans 34 provinces, but it started right here in Helmand
The Taliban strategy of dominating terrain inside Afghanistan , seizing provincial capitals, seizing districts, this strategy is being defeated. They now face a simple decision which is becoming ever more real for them: Reconcile or die
It has been the 215th corps, enabled by Task Force Southwest who have been key to delivering this reality to the enemy. You have been the main effort for Resolute Support, you have enabled the Afghan army, the Afghan police and the NDS.
You brilliantly supported them and in so doing not only supported the people of Helmand but the people of Afghanistan as well, the vast majority of whom reject terrorism and reject the Taliban and what they stand for.
This has not only had an affect inside Afghanistan but in our homeland as well . By protecting the United States and the homelands of our allies you are doing a tremendous service to the entire globe.
The Taliban and their senior leadership are seriously questioning their future here in Helmand and this is because Helmand is so important to their strenght and revenue, that they‘re questioning theire viability overall. You know this because you‘ve had a front row seat to this fight over the last year.
That what the ANDSF are capable of when they are expertly advised and superbly suppoerted as you have done.
The enemy also know since the announcement of the new SouthAsia strategy in August that the United States is no longer bound by arbitrary timelines in Afghanistan. The enemy is feeling the military pressure on the battle field and pressure from the entire coalition.
The enemy is feeling diplomatic and other forms of pressure on their sanctuaries outside of Afghanistan. And this year, with the elections that are going to be held, the enemy will feel social pressure at the ballot box as the Afghan people freely elect their leadership.
And in the face of these forms of pressure the Taliban can not win, and they know it."

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