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American Forces Press Service

Army Unit Slated for Afghanistan Duties in Spring

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2007 – The 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, located in Vicenza, Italy, will deploy to Afghanistan this spring, DoD officials announced today. This Army brigade combat team previously was scheduled to deploy for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On the recommendation of commanders on the ground, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates approved this request, which will maintain the current level of forces necessary to provide sufficient military capability for the NATO-International Security Assistance Force to further improve security and stability operations, according to a DoD news release.

This deployment affects about 3,200 personnel and sustains the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan by providing a replacement for the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, which was extended Jan. 25 for up to 120 days. Two U.S. brigade combat teams in Afghanistan provide military capability and combat power required for NATO to continue its initiatives in promoting stability and security in the winter and spring, while denying safe haven for the Taliban, according to the release.

The unit and U.S. Army Europe officials notified the soldiers and their families earlier this week, according to an Army news release.

The United States is ISAF’s largest troop contributor in Afghanistan, training and equipping the Afghan national security forces and assisting with reconstruction. Force levels in Afghanistan are conditions-based and will be determined in consultation with the Afghan government and NATO, the DoD release stated.

The Army continues to be completely supportive of Army families touched by the war's needs, Army officials said. Using Army family readiness group organizations, unit and installation commanders and staffs are ensuring families are fully supported while their soldiers are away, they said.

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