101st Airborne Division has landed back in Afghanistan

101st Airborne Division Has Landed Back in Afghanistan

The 101st Airborne Division unfurled its colors at Bagram Airfield, Sunday, marking the start of the unit’s fourth Afghanistan deployment in the last decade.

During past deployments to the country, the 101st was focused on the eastern provinces. Now, though, the division will oversee NATO’s Resolute Support mission to train, advise and assist Afghan government operations across the nation, according to an Army press release.

The division’s commander, Maj. Gen. Andrew Poppas, and senior enlisted leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Sims, spoke at the ceremony, as they took the reins from their counterparts in the 3rd Infantry Division.

101st Airborne Division Soldiers prepare to evacuate a casualty as an HH-60 Black Hawk helicopter lands during a combined arms live-fire training exercise at Tactical Base Gamberi May 13, 2015. The exercise was conducted by Train Advise Assist Command-East to demonstrate opportunities for the 201st Afghan National Army Corps to plan, manage and conduct combined arms training on their ranges. (Army)

101st Airborne Division Soldiers prepare to evacuate a casualty as an HH-60 Black Hawk helicopter lands during a combined arms live-fire training exercise at Tactical Base Gamberi May 13, 2015. The exercise was conducted by Train Advise Assist Command-East to demonstrate opportunities for the 201st Afghan National Army Corps to plan, manage and conduct combined arms training on their ranges. (Army)

During the ceremony, Poppas said it was encouraging to see the change and progress in Afghanistan since the unit was in charge of Regional Command-East in 2008.

“Not only are the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces fully responsible for Afghanistan’s security nationwide, but routinely conducting independent and combined arms operations,” Poppas said. “We have gone from an active combat role or partnered operations to merely training, advising and assisting these capable Afghan combat formations — a monumental and hard-fought achievement.”

U.S. airstrikes killed two leaders of ISIS-Khorasan — the Islamic State’s Afghan offshoot — this month, as U.S. commanders claim they are fighting a narrative pushed by Russia that IS is growing in the country.