Prishtina. For years, KFOR soldiers, apart from their military mission, have been taking matters into their own hands when it comes to helping people directly. Many soldiers literally stumble over the extremely difficult living conditions of many people here in Kosovo.

KABUL, Afghanistan – Coalition forces currently conducting operations in Marjeh, as well as Afghan citizens, are seeing noticeable improvements in the former Taliban stronghold. In a recent Pentagon press brief, Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mills, commanding general, Regional Command Southwest, stated that combat operations against Taliban forces in Marjeh are essentially over.

London – Commodore Michiel Hijmans, Commander of NATO's counter piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield, met with his CMF counterpart Commodore Abdul Aleem on 15 December.

NATO has developed a virtual platform to allow countries to train together without leaving their respective desks. From all around Europe, NATO countries can now fly simulated sorties in a virtual environment created by the NATO Live, Virtual and Constructive simulation infrastructure.

MONS, Belgium – Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Admiral James Stavridis offers his sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who died December 13.

Over the weekend Commodore Christian Rune (Royal Danish Navy), the Commander of Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) handed over command of NATO's counter piracy Task Force of warships operating off the coast of Somalia, to Commodore Michiel Hijmans (Royal Netherlands Navy).

Sixty Afghan National Police from Badghis police stations graduated from the eight-week basic police course organized by the Spanish Police Operations Mentor Liaison Team in Badghis province.

Since last week, specialized Search and Rescue and Medical units from the Kosovo Security Forces have been deployed in the Shkoder region in Northern Albania, providing humanitarian assistance during the extensive flooding.

Her Netherlands Majesty's Ship Zeeleeuw, a submarine which has participated in Operation Ocean Shield, arrived in Lisbon to report on her mission. This opportunity was seized to recognize the service of the crew and award NATO's Non-Article Five Africa Medal.

Larger-than-expected increases in the size of the Afghan National Security Force are enabling Afghan forces to take an ever-larger role in providing for their country's security – an encouraging sign that they will be able to take the lead by the 2014 transition date outlined during the Lisbon summit.

Italian warship ITS BERSAGLIERE is on her way home after completing NATO counter-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa.

US warship KAUFFMAN has set sail for home after completing more than 4 months on NATO's counter piracy operation ‘Ocean Shield' off the Horn of Africa.