General Joseph Dunford Takes over ISAF Commander PostWorld | February 10, 2013, Sunday // 14:09| views
Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis hands the U.S. Forces Afghanistan colors to U.S. Marine Corps Gen, Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. during the ISAF Change of Command ceremony held in Kabul, Afghanistan, February 10. Photo by U.S. Army Sgt.
US General Joseph Dunford assumed command of NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan on Sunday, taking over from General John Allen.
With troops withdrawing, Joseph Dunford is to be the last ISAF chief there.
Speaking before international and Afghan officials at a ceremony in Kabul, the new ISAF commander expressed his wish to follow in the path of his predecessor.
"Today is not about change, it's about continuity. What has not changed is the will of this coalition," Dunford said.
"I'll endeavour to continue the momentum of the campaign and support the people of Afghanistan as they seize the opportunity for a brighter future," he said.
The general, best known for his role as commander of the Marine 5th Regiment during the US invasion of Iraq, earned praise from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who has referred to him as "an exceptionally gifted strategic leader."
In the days leading up to the leadership handover, General John Allen praised ISAF accomplishments in Afghanistan and expressed his confidence in the necessity of continued efforts in supporting the country's government.
Despite the loss of troops, Allen called the campaign "worth it" during an interview with the NATO channel, adding that today's Afghanistan differs greatly from the Taliban-led country over a decade ago.
"[The troops] have made a difference, they have been successful," he said. "They have given Afghanistan a possibility for a bright future."
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