Marine General Dunford confirmed as Commander of Afghan War

 

Washington

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, tapped by President Barack Obama to become his fifth commander of the war in Afghanistan, will take charge in Kabul early next year, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.

Dunford, currently the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, was confirmed for his new post by the Senate in a voice vote Monday night. As commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, he will succeed another Marine, Gen. John Allen, whose future is in flux because of an investigation into his "potentially inappropriate" communications with a Tampa, Fla. woman.

U.S. officials said Allen's travails are unlikely to force the Pentagon to accelerate its plan for Dunford to assume command in February. They said U.S., NATO and Afghan officials are trying to finalize a date for a change-of-command ceremony in Kabul, but they expected Allen to stay in the job several more weeks.

The Pentagon's investigation into Allen's relationship with Jill Kelley, a Florida woman who befriended several generals and admirals at the U.S. Central Command headquarters in Tampa, has come at a particularly awkward moment for the military.

The White House is scheduled to make a final decision in the next few weeks on some critical mileposts for winding down the war. Rather than rush Dunford into his new position, however, Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta have chosen to keep Allen in command until early next year, despite the investigation by the Pentagon's inspector general. Allen is in the midst of finalizing his recommendations to Obama on how quickly to withdraw troops from Afghanistan next year, and he recently presented options on how many U.S. trainers and counterterrorism forces might remain in the country after 2014, when the NATO-led combat mission is scheduled to end.

Allen's longer-term future in the military remains uncertain. Obama had chosen him to become NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe, but the White House froze his nomination last month pending the outcome of the investigation.

Panetta asked the Pentagon's inspector general last month to review between 20,000 and 30,000 documents and e-mails Allen and Kelley had exchanged since 2010. The communications were unearthed by the FBI as part of a separate investigation into an affair between former CIA director David Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Petraeus publicly admitted the affair and abruptly resigned last month.

Associates of Allen and Kelley have denied they had an affair, and details of the e-mails between them remain secret at the Pentagon.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital and print design a...

Recruitment Genius: Engineering Project Manager - Vehicle Design and Build

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Engineering Project Manager ...

Recruitment Genius: Network Support Engineer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading manufacturer and i...

Recruitment Genius: Document Controller

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Document Controller is required to join a le...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

Are you a 50-center?

Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

Hollywood's new diet trends

Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
6 best recipe files

6 best recipe files

Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action