About 200 soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division headquarters will deploy to Afghanistan in November, officials announced Tuesday.
Once deployed, the soldiers from Fort Stewart, Georgia, will assume their role as the U.S. Forces Afghanistan National Security Element. The deployment will include a supporting element in Qatar and a liaison in Kuwait, according to a news release from the division.
The soldiers are expected to be deployed for 12 months, and they will be part of the 9,800 U.S. troops that will remain in Afghanistan after NATO's International Security Assistance Force mission ends Dec. 31.
The Resolute Support mission will begin Jan. 1, as U.S. and NATO forces draw down and transition from a combat role to a train, advise and assist mission.
In Afghanistan, the deploying soldiers will join about 60 other soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division who arrived in country this month. Those soldiers, led by Brig. Gen. Christopher Bentley, the division's deputy commanding general for support, are deployed to succeed the 10th Mountain Division at Regional Command-East, which is transitioning into Train, Advise and Assist Command-East.
The smaller group of soldiers also is tasked for a 12-month deployment. They will be stationed at Forward Operating Base Gamberi in Laghman province.
"As the Afghans grow more capable, the support provided by ISAF, soon to be called Resolute Support, will decrease proportionately," said Maj. Gen. Mike Murray, 3rd Infantry Division commander, in a statement. "The Resolute Support mission will focus on training, advising and assisting at higher echelons. We look forward to joining the team in Afghanistan and doing our part to ensure the [Afghan National Security Forces] are left a more capable force, and to solidify the incredible gains of those who have served and sacrificed before us."
Once in Afghanistan, Murray will lead Combined Joint Task Force-3, stationed at Bagram Air Base, said Lt. Col. Amanda Azubuike, a spokeswoman for the 3rd Infantry Division.
He will have three roles: deputy commander for U.S. Forces Afghanistan, working for Gen. John Campbell, the top U.S. commander in theater; commander of the National Security Element; and senior mission commander at Bagram.
As the U.S. and NATO mission winds down in Afghanistan, many headquarters and functions are being consolidated, which means Murray will absorb some of the duties carried out by Regional Command-East as well as those of U.S. Forces Afghanistan, Azubuike said. This includes managing equipment retrograde and personnel redeployment.