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Orlando, February 18, 2010—The "embedded partnership" strategy now being used by NATO's International Security Assistance Force is clearly paying dividends, said Army Maj. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, head of Combined Joint Task Force 82, headquartered at Bagram Air Base, speaking at AFA's Air Warfare Symposium.

Embedded partnership essentially means that NATO forces eat, drink, and live with their Afghan counterparts. This gives the forces that will eventually have full responsibility for their security the best possible understanding of US and NATO tactics, techniques, procedures, and standards, said Scaparrotti, who is also commander of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Scaparrotti said the Afghan national army has shown good discipline and has a good capacity to develop an effective corps of non-commissioned officers. The US and NATO forces learn from the Afghans, too, particularly about the vagaries of the local terrain.

This cooperation has allowed Scaparrotti's Regional Command East, which encompasses roughly a quarter of Afghanistan, to get a handle on insurgent activity in some significant zones. Major areas have now progressed from being considered "clear and hold" zones to being labeled "hold and build."

The locals see the difference, too: Scaparrotti said civilians from areas around the now-Taliban-free zones want the same security.

They now offer their support in driving out the Taliban, which helps spread security much like an expanding inkblot.