Gen. Joseph “Fighting Joe” Dunford is still undecided on the size of the US occupation force that will be in Afghanistan in 2015. Though he says he expects to come to some sort of decision this summer, he insists no recommendations have yet been made.
Not that there is any doubt in Dunford’s mind that US troops with be there. Insisting “transitions, by definition, are very, very difficult times,” Dunford says Afghanistan remains a “monumental” operation, and one that’s going to continue for years to come.
Gen. Dunford went on to say that he isn’t spending much time worrying about the removal of equipment from Afghanistan, and that he is focused instead on instilling “confidence” in the Afghans. Since the US has a pact that could keep them in Afghanistan through 2024, removing gear might not be a high priority.
But Dunford’s role in tapping the size of the force in 2015 and seeing the US through the transition assumes he’ll be there at all. History isn’t on his side in that regard, as he is the fifth commander in just over four years of Obama Administration juggling of the war, and the 15th commander since the 2001 invasion.