Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. testifies Nov. 15 before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington during a nomination hearing to be the next commander of the International Security Assistance Force and to be commander, U.S. Forces, Afghanistan. (Thomas Brown / Staff)
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WASHINGTON — The Senate has approved President Obama's choice to be the top commander in Afghanistan.
By voice vote Monday, lawmakers cleared the way for Gen. Joseph Dunford, the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, to take over as head of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Dunford would replace Gen. John Allen, the current commander who has been nominated to take charge in Europe. Allen's nomination is on hold as he's ensnared in the sex scandal that had led to the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus.
Dunford takes charge at a critical time for Obama and the military as they decide in the coming weeks the pace of drawing down the 66,000 U.S. combat troops in Afghanistan. Dunford has directed combat forces in Iraq.