White House to change Afghanistan generals

Sept. 29, 2012 at 12:05 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- The White House plans to replace the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan during the drawdown of forces from the country, officials say.

The assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., will be nominated to replace Gen. John Allen, who had led U.S. and other forces in Afghanistan since mid-2011, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

Allen is not being fired, but President Barack Obama "wants somebody who can take a fresh look at the effort in Afghanistan and isn't an architect of the current strategy," said David Barno, a retired Army general.

Barno headed the war in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005.

The last of the 30,000 additional "surge" troops deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 are to leave the country this month. The remaining 68,000 U.S. troops are scheduled to withdraw by the end of 2014.

Allen will receive a promotion when he departs in January. U.S. officials said Allen will be nominated to be Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, which would make him the top military officer for NATO.

His nomination must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Dunford has no experience in Afghanistan, but he commanded the 5th Marine regiment during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

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