US Gen. Dunford takes reins of NATO's Afghanistan force
By Joris Fioriti, AFPKABUL--U.S. General Joseph Dunford assumed command of NATO forces in Afghanistan on Sunday, taking over from General John Allen as the coalition prepares to withdraw the bulk of its combat troops by next year.
February 11, 2013, 12:52 am TWN
Marine General Dunford will likely be the last commander of the United States' longest war, tasked with bringing forces home after more than 11 years and overseeing the transfer of Afghan security duties to local forces.
Despite the persistence of the Taliban's bloody insurgency against President Hamid Karzai's government and NATO forces, Allen, who leaves to become the alliance's supreme commander in Europe, said: “We will be victorious.”
Dunford, a Marine general like Allen who earned the nickname “Fighting Joe” for his leadership in Iraq, took command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in a ceremony at the group's headquarters in Kabul amid tight security.
Allen said victory over the insurgency led by the Taliban would “never be marked by a date, a point in time in the calendar” but insisted the effort would prevail.
“The insurgency will be defeated over time by legitimate and well-trained Afghan forces,” he said.
“Afghan forces defending Afghan people and enabling the government of this country to serve its citizens — this is victory, this is what winning looks like.”
Dunford, a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, said his assumption of command meant continuity not change, and insisted “what has not changed is the inevitability of our success.”