KABUL, Afghanistan (June 18, 2013) – The following is a statement by General Joseph F. Dunford, Commander of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF):
To the noble people of Afghanistan, Salaam alaikum.
I’m General Joe Dunford, Commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force, and on behalf of all members of ISAF, I want to congratulate the people of Afghanistan on reaching Milestone 2013.
On this historic occasion, the Afghan people take a monumental step forward as the Afghan National Security forces take the lead for security across the country. No longer are the Afghan people reliant on coalition forces to provide security. Afghan soldiers and police are now protecting fellow Afghans.
With the announcement of Tranche 5, we are entering the final phase of security transition. This is a cause for celebration, not apprehension. While the nature of our relationship is changing, the commitment of the international community to the people of Afghanistan remains resolute and enduring.
Two weeks ago, the NATO defense ministers approved the concept for a new mission in Afghanistan beginning in 2015. The details of this new mission, called Resolute Support, will be developed in the coming months.
Challenges lie ahead. But today’s announcement recognizes the ability of a sovereign Afghanistan to meet those challenges. The Afghan people will see their sons and daughters providing security. The enemies of Afghanistan will see a capable, credible force.
Today is a proud day for Afghanistan. We in the Coalition look forward to supporting you in the months and years ahead, as you seize the opportunity to realize your dreams of a peaceful, prosperous future.