Dunford emphasises need to address terrorist safe havens in Pak | Pakistan Today

Dunford emphasises need to address terrorist safe havens in Pak

Declaring the US and coalition goals in Afghanistan “within reach,” President Barack Obama’s nominee to take command of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and US forces in Afghanistan, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday he’ll work to complete a successful security transition there if confirmed.
“I recognize that much work remains to be done, and the challenges will be many,” Dunford, the current assistant Marine Corps commandant, told the Senate panel. He acknowledged, for example, the need to address terrorist safe havens in Pakistan and the rearming of militias in Afghanistan — a development Dunford said “would absolutely have an adverse effect on stability.”
Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., who would succeed Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen in the post, said he also will strive to set the conditions for an enduring U.S. partnership with the Afghan people.
The general also cited corruption in Afghanistan, calling it “the most significant strategic challenge to success” there.
Reporting on his recent visit to Afghanistan, Dunford said he was impressed by the impact of NATO Training Mission Afghanistan in developing the Afghan national security forces. “I really believe over the last 18 months that their performance has significantly improved as a result of the training being provided by NTMA,” he said.
The timeline for growing the force to 352,000 members has slipped slightly, but the general said all the troops have been recruited and many trained. “My expectation, based on my recent visit, is that training will be completed by early 2013,” he said.
With this progress, and continued coalition support, “I believe the Afghan national security forces will be able to meet the security requirements in Afghanistan,” he said.

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