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News | March 2, 2016

Dunford praises Campbell’s leadership in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (March 2, 2016) — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff presented the Defense Distinguished Service Medal to Army Gen. John F. Campbell here today, saying that Campbell has made a “tremendous difference” to Afghanistan.

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. attended the change of command ceremony where Campbell turned over command of U.S. Forces Afghanistan and the NATO Resolute Support Mission to Army Gen. John W. “Mick” Nicholson Jr.

Dunford said Campbell is a leader “who has the strategic vision to move an organization forward, but who never loses sight of individual soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilians.”

Praising Campbell’s Service

Dunford noted Campbell’s years of service in Afghanistan, saying the Army general’s heart and soul is invested in success for the country and its people. “I don’t know that anyone is more committed to moving our Afghan partners forward … and to make sure the Afghan people have hope in the future, than General Campbell,” he said.

Afghanistan still faces a tough road, Dunford said, noting it’s important for the United States and its coalition partners to “keep our partnership strong for some years to come, not days or weeks.”

The relationships that Campbell has made with Afghan partners have been crucial to the progress Afghan forces have made in the past 18 months, Dunford said.

Dunford -- who served 18 months as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force here -- said Campbell is a model for the Resolute Support mission.

“He has been a full partner for our Afghan friends,” Dunford said of Campbell. “He has demonstrated the kind of respect for our Afghan friends that they deserve.”

The chairman added, “As we turn [the mission] over to General Mick Nicholson, I know that the command is in good shape and perfectly prepared for the transition between two extraordinary leaders.”

Campbell said there is still a lot to do, “and it’s going to take all of us pulling together to make this work for Afghanistan. We’ve had so many people pay the ultimate sacrifice from our coalition, from the Afghan army, police and civilians, and we have to bear down and make sure that this continues to be worth it.”