KABUL: The incoming No 2 US commander, Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson, has taken charge of International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) Joint Command from outgoing Lt. Gen. Mark Milley on Saturday in Afghanistan.
Lt Gen. Mark Milley handed over International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) Joint Command to Lt Gen Joseph Anderson, At a ceremony in Kabul following expiration of the mandate for the mandate of US-led Isaf at the end of 2014, Associated Press reported.
Anderson said during the ceremony that his immediate focus is on supporting upcoming Afghan elections, not on the possibility of US troops remaining after the Nato-led combat mission ends.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has delayed signing a deal that would allow some a small number of troops to stay in the country after Nato combat troops withdraw, creating friction with Washington.
The military has been pushing to keep up to 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan after 2014, but the White House says President Barack Obama won’t leave any American forces in Afghanistan unless Karzai signs.
Anderson, who will run the day-to-day coalition campaign, acknowledged that the uncertainty around the security deal gives him a ”little bit of pause” but is ultimately a ”longer term issue.”
”Right now the immediacy is supporting the elections and earlier fighting season and getting through all that through the summer,” he said. ”Then based on whatever number we have to deal with, we will adjust.” ”We’ll deal with each step along the way,” he added.
It should be noted here that presidential election of Afghanistan has been scheduled for April 5 under the cloud of fears of violent attacks by Taliban militants which could interrupt the polling season.