Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 7, 2015

Gen. Dunford on What’s Different From Iraq to Afghanistan Withdrawal

Dunford, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, testifies during a Senate Armed Services hearing in March on the situation in Afghanistan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Dunford, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, testifies during a Senate Armed Services hearing in March on the situation in Afghanistan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A nomination hearing Thursday for Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. to take command of the Marine Corps spent most of its time focusing on his current job as commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan. He backed the Afghanistan withdrawal plan as different from what happened in Iraq, where the Obama administration is encountering a lot of second guessing based on the chaos there — but he also gave some fuel to critics of the president’s plan in Afghanistan.

“We knew when we left Iraq there was work remaining to be done,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “In Afghanistan we have a chance to get that right.”

The withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 came as a condition of a Status of Forces Agreement signed in 2008 by then-President George W. Bush that set the 2011 deadline. President Barack Obama did not come to an agreement with the Iraqi government to extend that deadline.

And that points to another difference. “The Afghan people want us to be in Afghanistan in overwhelming numbers,” Dunford said. He said he had spoken to both presidential candidates, and “both presidential candidates also support a presence after 2014.”

Furthermore, the lack of a hard deadline under something like a Status of Forces Agreement — although Obama’s plan calls for almost all troops to be gone by the end of 2016 — gives everyone a chance to make adjustments if needed, he said.

And, lastly, the Afghanistan Security Forces have shown themselves up to the challenge so far, Dunford said; the Iraqi military has been far more ragged under fire. The Afghanistan Security Forces helped secure the election and he said he was confident that they were performing well in fighting this summer, even without as much support from foreign troops, he said.


Under questioning from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., about his preference about the 2017 withdrawal date, Dunford nonetheless acknowledged that “All of us in uniform — including the Afghans — would have preferred it to be a bit more ambiguous.” Republicans have said Obama’s setting of a date for Afghanistan withdrawal is a bad move, since it gives the enemy a target date for when they no longer have to worry about American involvement.

He also said it was unclear whether the current gains of the Afghanistan Security Forces were sustainable in the long-term, or fully ready to deal with the terrorist threat by 2017.

Comments (21)

  1. Anonymous

    July 7, 2015
    11:27 a.m.

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your blog!

  2. Anonymous

    July 9, 2015
    9:29 a.m.

    I like the efforts you have put in this, appreciate it for all the great articles.

  3. Anonymous

    July 12, 2015
    1:09 p.m.

    You are my breathing in, I have few web logs and very sporadically run out from to brand : (.

  4. Anonymous

    July 18, 2015
    6:47 a.m.

    I just could not depart your site prior to suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the standard info a person provide for your visitors? Is gonna be back often to check up on new posts

  5. Anonymous

    July 19, 2015
    10:20 a.m.

    I like the helpful info you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I will learn a lot of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

  6. Anonymous

    July 20, 2015
    11:20 p.m.

    I needed to compose you a little bit of observation in order to say thanks a lot the moment again for the striking solutions you’ve shared on this page. It’s quite extremely generous with you to offer openly all many people could possibly have offered for an e book to end up making some dough on their own, most notably seeing that you could have done it in case you considered necessary. Those good ideas likewise worked as a easy way to be sure that other people have similar fervor the same as my own to know the truth more related to this condition. I believe there are numerous more fun opportunities up front for individuals that find out your blog.

  7. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    4:06 a.m.

    Throughout this great pattern of things you get a B- with regard to hard work. Where you misplaced me was first on your specifics. As people say, the devil is in the details… And it could not be more correct right here. Having said that, permit me reveal to you just what did work. Your article (parts of it) is actually extremely powerful which is possibly the reason why I am making the effort in order to opine. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Second, whilst I can easily see a jumps in reason you make, I am not confident of how you seem to connect your points that help to make the conclusion. For now I will, no doubt subscribe to your position however wish in the future you actually connect the dots better.

  8. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    4:04 p.m.

    Sweet site, super layout, rattling clean and utilize friendly.

  9. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    6:45 a.m.

    Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Very helpful information specially the last part :) I care for such information a lot. I was seeking this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  10. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    4:03 p.m.

    Wow, amazing weblog structure! How long have you ever been running a blog for? you make blogging look easy. The whole look of your site is excellent, as neatly as the content material!

  11. Anonymous

    July 30, 2015
    3:13 p.m.

  12. Anonymous

    July 31, 2015
    1:55 p.m.

    What’s Happening i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It absolutely helpful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to contribute & help other users like its helped me. Good job.

  13. Anonymous

    Aug. 2, 2015
    2:56 p.m.

  14. Anonymous

    Aug. 6, 2015
    5 a.m.

    As soon as I discovered this internet site I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

  15. Anonymous

    Aug. 7, 2015
    7:52 a.m.

    I enjoy your piece of work, thankyou for all the useful posts.

  16. Anonymous

    Aug. 12, 2015
    7:08 a.m.

    I found your weblog web site on google and check a number of of your early posts. Proceed to keep up the superb operate. I simply additional up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Looking for forward to reading extra from you in a while!…

  17. Anonymous

    Aug. 12, 2015
    1:12 p.m.

    I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your website. Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility problems? A number of my blog visitors have complained about my blog not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome. Do you have any ideas to help fix this problem?

  18. Anonymous

    Sept. 2, 2015
    10 a.m.

    wpawry Thank you for your blog.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

  19. Anonymous

    Sept. 3, 2015
    10:09 a.m.

    5pAS55 You ave made some good points there. I looked on the net for additional information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.

  20. desene animate in romana

    Sept. 4, 2015
    5:01 p.m.

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return.

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...