Afghanistan -- the way ahead: McChrystal sends message to troops Published Dec. 10, 2009 American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON -- Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has posted a message to the troops on the way ahead. The full text follows: We have been presented a great opportunity to take the tremendous work of our coalition force to the next level. The clarity, capability and commitment outlined in President Obama's address are critical steps toward eliminating an insurgency in Afghanistan and terrorist safe havens that threaten regional and global security. Each of you can be proud of the effort we have made here, not just in bringing the fight to the enemy, but in reshaping that fight to achieve more lasting effects, grow our partnership with Afghan security forces, and strengthen relationships with government officials and the Afghan people. You have performed magnificently, and I believe our renewed coalition campaign is fortified by the path President Obama has put forward. Our NATO International Security Assistance Force objective remains clear: We will work toward a transfer of responsibility to Afghan security forces as rapidly as conditions allow. They need our help and we are here for them, for their future and for the safety and security of coalition nations. The additional resources called for by President Obama will continue to advance a winning strategy. In recent months we have seen real progress that must be preserved and expanded. The increase of coalition forces earlier this year in the Helmand River Valley, along with expanded civilian capacity, have improved security and stability. This is also helping to foster essential governance and basic economic development. We still face many challenges in Afghanistan, but our mission has renewed purpose sustained by one unassailable reality: Neither the international community nor the Afghan people want this country to remain a sanctuary for terror and violence. The price to be paid in this conflict is high. But the stakes are higher. President Obama's decision is a clear reflection not only of his intended strategy, but of his confidence in the success we can achieve, success earned by the competence and courage you display every day in Afghanistan. I am privileged to be serving with you and I am confident that our partnership with Afghans will enable real change to Afghanistan, grounded in a secure and stable environment that allows for effective governance, economic independence and the freedom of every Afghan to choose how to live. In doing so, we will preserve for our own coalition nations the lasting security we seek for the people of Afghanistan.