TACOM commanding general reflects on Afghanistan War

Comments on withdrawal plan

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published May 13, 2021

 Speaking on the plan for all U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September, Maj. Gen. Darren Werner, commanding general, U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, Army Materiel Command, said he’s a very big supporter of the executive and legislative branch and the decisions they make on foreign policy.

Speaking on the plan for all U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September, Maj. Gen. Darren Werner, commanding general, U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, Army Materiel Command, said he’s a very big supporter of the executive and legislative branch and the decisions they make on foreign policy.

Photo provided by Darren Werner

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Beginning May 1, the plan was for U.S. forces to withdraw from Afghanistan.

A few weeks prior, President Joe Biden announced the drawdown of all 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, concluding by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history.

C & G Newspapers spoke with Army Maj. Gen. Darren Werner, commanding general, U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, Army Materiel Command. He is based at the U.S. Army Garrison-Detroit Arsenal in Warren and was promoted to the two-star rank in February.

Werner now resides in Macomb Township and was commander of the 16th Sustainment Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom.

“I’m a very big supporter of our executive and legislative branch and the decisions they make on foreign policy,” he said when asked what his initial reaction was to the drawdown news. “Those events that go on around the world, I’m always pretty supportive of the leadership’s decisions.”

Werner served one tour in Afghanistan, from October 2012 to August 2013. He was headquartered at Camp Eggers in Kabul.

In addition to being the brigade commander, Werner served as the deputy commander for support operations for a NATO training mission.

“I worked under a NATO commander and provided the training and development of sustainment and logistic operations for the Afghan National Police and Afghan Army,” Werner said.   

He said, at the time he was in Afghanistan, the focus was on building a strong national army and police force.

“I worked closely with senior army and police officials in the Afghan military to help develop their ability to extend their lines of communication or their ability to move away from cities,” Werner said. “They have to operate with fuel, food and water, and they had a limited capability to do that. They based out of cities, moved out and then came back to rearm and resupply.”

Werner’s unit helped develop a strategy for forces to move out, establishing forward bases farther away from a city.

“We helped them develop the process and policies in establishing supply depots,” Werner said. “We brought to them an understanding to use automated systems and tools like computer systems to manage their supplies, instead of using paper and pen.”

He summarized the mission as bringing technology to the forces, training and enabling them to better understand how to employ their forces with sustainment capability.

What Werner noticed in Afghanistan was how the foreign leaders and soldiers he worked with were dedicated to becoming capable of delivering what the country needed for peace and prosperity.

“The soldiers were dedicated to stabilize the country and get it going in a direction that would promote peace and stability,” Werner said. “It seemed like a country that was excited to move to a new phase.”

He said one of his best experiences in Afghanistan was working with NATO allies as part of a team.

“It was a great opportunity to get some additional perspective and a diverse culture of individuals,” Werner said. “I developed a better understanding of how our allies function.”

Regarding the future of U.S. relations with Afghanistan, Werner said it’s a very difficult task to provide support to a nation when, internally in that nation, forces try to disrupt the peaceful progress that could be going on.

“Our country is uniquely equipped to see how things start to unfold and then take appropriate action to provide support or allow the country to proceed as it’s destined to proceed,” he said.   

Werner grew up in Mayville, Michigan, in Tuscola County, about 70 miles northwest of Warren. Prior to coming to Michigan this time around, he was the commanding general of the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command in Fort Hood, Texas, for two years.

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