Dunford Takes Command in Afghanistan

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford assumed command of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan during a ceremony in Kabul on Sunday. Dunford is expected to oversee the phased completion of NATO’s combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. He succeeded Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, who led the International Security Assistance Force and US Forces-Afghanistan since July 2011. “Today is not about change, it’s about continuity,” said Dunford in addressing the audience during the change-of-command ceremony, according to ISAF’s Feb 10 release. He added, “I’ll endeavor to continue the momentum of the campaign and support the people of Afghanistan.” Dunford previously served as the Marine Corps’ assistant commandant. President Obama tapped Dunford for the leadership post last October; the Senate confirmed him in December. Allen was the longest-serving ISAF commander in NATO’s 11-year-plus campaign in Afghanistan, states the release. Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Martin Dempsey praised Allen at the event. “He is as fine an officer as I’ve ever known,” said Dempsey, adding that Allen “has led with a quick mind, calloused hands, and a servant’s spirit.” Obama has nominated Allen to lead US European Command and be NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe. (Includes AFPS report by Jim Garamone) (See also Panetta statement.)