Dempsey arrives in Afghanistan to assess transition efforts

The U.S. military's top uniformed officer arrived in Afghanistan Saturday to assess the ongoing effort to end America's war in the country within the next year.

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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey will meet with Gen. Joseph Dunford, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, along with other Afghan and coalition leaders during the two-day visit.

He will also meet with new the Central Command chief, Gen. Lloyd Austin, and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham, according to the Defense Department.

Saturday's Afghan visit will be Dempsey's first in country since Dunford took over command from retired Marine Corps Gen. John Allen.

Specifically, Dempsey plans to "review the campaign" in Afghanistan with Dunford, nearly two months after the Marine Corps general assumed command of American and allied forces in the country.

"One of the things I am going to ask . . . is what have you learned," Dempsey told reporters regarding his upcoming talks with Dunford.

"If he tells me 'nothing,' I'm going to say 'maybe we got the wrong guy.' " the four-star general said.



That said, Dunford has provided some insight into how he sees the over decade-long war coming to an end.


Dunford and Cunningham voiced their support in March to deploy 13,600 American forces in Afghanistan after the administration's 2014 withdrawal deadline.

The postwar plan backed by Dunford and Cunningham falls in line with recommendations made by former Central Command chief Gen. James Mattis and goes against initial White House estimates for that postwar force.

The soonest the White House and Pentagon could have an Afghan postwar plan in place is this summer, Dempsey told reporters on Saturday.

But the Afghan insurgency's resiliency and steep learning curve facing the country's nascent military all but guarantees the fight against the Taliban will endure even after America's war ends, according to Dunford.

"My assumption is that the [Afghan] insurgency will still exist after 2014," Dunford said in an interview with ABC News on Monday.

"The conditions are not yet set for a stable and secure Afghanistan in the long-term," he added.