The United States is attempting to proactively control the narrative in Afghanistan, said Brig. Gen. Les Kodlick, USAF’s director of public affairs. Speaking at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., last week, Kodlick recounted how a measles outbreak struck two remote Afghan villages in January. Twelve children died from the virus, so on Jan. 27, members of USAF’s 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group and an Afghan helicopter crew brought in five doctors and more than 2,200 pounds of supplies to help counter the outbreak. The crew had to land in whiteout conditions at 7,500 feet, said Kodlick. “By demonstrating that we care about the Afghan people, we sent a clear message”—one that should pay dividends, he said. “Deeds influence the perceptions and opinions of the populations that witness them,” asserted Kodlick. “It is our actions that communicate the loudest.”
These are the complete remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Dec. 3, 2022, in Simi Valley, Calif.