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    Gen. Allen takes over as ISAF commander

    KABUL(PAN): US Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen assumed command of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from his compatriot Gen. David H. Petraeus at a ceremony in Kabul on Monday.

    Senior Afghan and NATO officials, including German Army Gen. Wolf Langheld, commander of Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum, Adm. Mike Mullen, US chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, and Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of US Central Command, attended the change-of-command ceremony. 

    Gen. Allen served as deputy commander of the US Central Command from July 2008 to June 2011, ISAF said in a statement. From 2006 to 2008, he served as deputy commanding general of II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF).

    Gen. Allen, the first Marine Corps officer to serve as commandant of Midshipmen at the US Naval Academy, also served as a Marine Corps Fellow to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.  He was promoted to the rank of four-star general prior to the change of command. 

    Addressing the audience, Gen. Allen said: "Throughout, we will keep our eyes on the horizon – the future of Afghanistan – a nation of free people at peace, governed under its constitution, pursuing economic enterprise and development in a secure and stable environment."

    He stressed the need for combating the extremism and terrorism that has plagued Afghanistan and its people for more than a generation. "In the end – together we will prevail."

    Gen. Petraeus, who took command of ISAF in July 2010, will retire from the military later this summer and become director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

    mud/pr