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Pentagon Sets Date for Change of Command in Afghanistan


General John Campbell, left, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and Afghan acting Defense Minister Masoom Stanekzai hold a press conference at the Afghan Defense ministry in Kabul, Feb. 7, 2016.

General John Campbell, left, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and Afghan acting Defense Minister Masoom Stanekzai hold a press conference at the Afghan Defense ministry in Kabul, Feb. 7, 2016.

The change of command for U.S. Gen. John Campbell, the leading American general in Afghanistan, and his replacement, Lt. Gen. John "Mick" Nicholson, is set for March 2, Campbell's top spokesman told VOA Thursday.

Speaking during a phone interview from Kabul, Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner said the date was based on when they could get Gen. Nicholson to Afghanistan, as well as providing each of them enough time for the transition.

Shoffner said the date was solidified on Wednesday. He would not release when Lt. Gen. Nicholson would arrive in Afghanistan due to security purposes.

Army Lt. Gen. John Nicholson Jr., testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing considering his promotion to General, Commander, Resolute Support, Jan. 28, 2016..

Army Lt. Gen. John Nicholson Jr., testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing considering his promotion to General, Commander, Resolute Support, Jan. 28, 2016..

Gen. Campbell has said he will retire from the Army after the transition. Officials close to the general said he was offered another four-star general position by the Obama administration, but respectfully declined.

Gen. Campbell assumed command of the NATO International Security Assistance Force in August 2014. He led the NATO transition from a combat mission to an advise-and-assist operation at the end of that year.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Korea, Japan and Egypt.

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