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Chairman arrives in Afghanistan to assess progress

Email   Print   Share By Claudette Roulo, American Forces Press Service
April 11, 2013 | Across DoD
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Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Afghanistan Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi, salute at the Afghanistan Ministry of Defense in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday. Dempsey visited Afghanistan to meet with coalition and Afghan leaders. D. Myles Cullen, DoD
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Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi, Chief of the General Staff of the Afghan Army, is joined by his staff for a meeting with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) commander, and members of their staff in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday. D. Myles Cullen, DoD
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey arrived here Saturday for several meetings with coalition and Afghan leaders.

The trip to Afghanistan follows on the heels of the U.S. Africa Command change of command the chairman attended Friday, and Dempsey noted to reporters traveling with him that transitions are at the heart of both visits.

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford assumed command of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force about 60 days ago, the chairman said. He added that he plans to “review the campaign” with Dunford.

“He had a good, full 30-day transition period with (Gen.) John Allen,” Dempsey said, but commanders want to get out and talk to their junior leaders to assess whether command intent is reaching them.

Dempsey will meet with senior military and civilian leaders, including Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command; James Cunningham, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, and Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, commander of Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435.

The chairman will also meet with his counterpart, Afghan Army Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi.

As the transition to an Afghan-secured Afghanistan progresses, several provinces have developed spontaneous anti-Taliban movements, a development the chairman said he finds encouraging.

“If this becomes our program, it won’t work,” he said. The power of such movements lies in the fact that they are generated and led by Afghans, the chairman added.

Taliban efforts at reconciliation with the Afghan government are a sign of progress, he said. A post-ISAF Afghanistan can’t be the Afghanistan of 1990, Dempsey added.

Dempsey said while some groups may be irreconcilable, those who can work with the Afghan could become part of the political system.

“Any conflict in history, when it is resolved, is resolved through some form of reconciliation,” the chairman said. “I support the effort to try … through the Afghans, to encourage them to take reconciliation as an important line of effort.”
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