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Dempsey to Visit Afghanistan, Meet With Dunford, Others

By Jim Garamone
ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT, — Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey will visit Afghanistan to meet with Afghan, NATO and U.S. leaders. 

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff makes frequent trips to the combat zone to see conditions firsthand and to speak with the men and women shouldering the burden. These visits are well-planned, but unannounced. 

Dempsey will meet with NATO’s International Security Assistance Force Commander Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. The chairman and the NATO chief will discuss the campaign plan, the current fighting season, the April 2014 Afghan elections and plans for the post-2014 U.S. presence in Afghanistan, officials said. 

U.S. and Afghan negotiators are working on a bilateral security agreement, and Dempsey will get a briefing on that. The general said yesterday during his reconfirmation hearing before the Senate that legal protections for American service members based in Afghanistan after the NATO mandate ends on Dec. 31, 2014, will be of paramount importance. 

Having American troops in Afghanistan post-2014 to train and advise the Afghan national security forces will be crucial to success in the country, Dempsey said yesterday. 

Dempsey and Dunford will also discuss the retrograde movement of American equipment from Afghanistan.