WASHINGTON: Gen Joseph Dunford, the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps and a combat veteran who led a regiment in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, has been nominated by President Barack Obama as his new commander to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Dunford would replace Gen John Allen, who has now been nominated as next Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), Obama said. Praising Allen for his contribution in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, Obama said he has personally relied on his counsel and is grateful for his devotion to US national security. “For more than a year, General Allen has served with distinction as the commander of US forces and NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, seeing us through a critical period in our military efforts and in Afghanistan’s transition,” a statement from Obama said.
“During his tenure in Afghanistan, General Allen established his credibility with our NATO allies and ISAF partners as a strong and effective military leader,” Obama said. Under Allen the US has made important progress towards its core goal of defeating al-Qaida and ensuring they can never return to a sovereign Afghanistan, Obama said. If confirmed by the Senate, General Dunford will preside over the withdrawal of most of the 68,000 American troops in Afghanistan expected by the end of 2014. General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, in a statement praised Gen Allen for his successes in Afghanistan. “General John Allen took command in the summer of 2011 as we were arresting and reversing insurgent momentum in key areas throughout the country. He immediately strengthened areas of success, taking them to new levels, while identifying elements of the campaign that required revision,” he said.
Dempsey said like Allen, Gen Dunford is one of the most experienced and capable leaders in our military and nation. “Intelligent and forthright, Gen. Dunford is one of our most highlyregarded senior officers. He is an infantry officer with more than 35 years of exceptional leadership at every level, including multiple commands and, in particular, command of 5th Marine Regiment during the initial invasion of Iraq,” he said. Allen, he said, achieved remarkable progress in war against terrorism during his stint in the country but noted that much work remains to be done. Allen added his leadership and moral courage to a fight that is as much about will as it is about operations and tactics, he added