Marine general takes helm in Afghanistan Reflected sunlight sparks fire 2 in custody in teen's death
KABUL, Afghanistan -- Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. took over Sunday as probably last U.S. commander in Afghanistan with the job of ending America's longest war as insurgents continue to challenge the U.S.-backed Afghan government.
Dunford, a four-star Marine officer, arrives as the U.S.-led NATO coalition has dismantled three-quarters of its 800 bases and watches to see whether the Afghan security forces it trained can keep the Taliban insurgency at bay.
A ceremony inside the coalition's compound in Kabul marked the end of the 19-month tenure of Gen. John R. Allen. In remarks tinged with emotion Sunday, Allen pointed to significant progress, including the growth of the Afghan security forces, an increase in Afghan-led military operations, a sharp reduction in civilian casualties and the withdrawal of about 35,000 U.S. troops.
"This is victory," Allen said. "This is what winning looks like, and we should not shrink from using those words."
Allen was cleared of wrongdoing last month in a Pentagon inquiry into emails he exchanged with a woman who was linked to the sex scandal that forced the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus. He has been nominated to lead NATO forces in Europe.
About 65,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan, down from a high of 100,000.
PARAMUS, N.J. -- Authorities say reflected sunlight apparently sparked a fire that damaged a northern New Jersey home.
Paramus Police Lt. Barbara Steinberg told The Record of Woodland Park that sunshine coming through a second-story bedroom window apparently reflected off a mirror, which then focused a powerful beam onto a pile of clothes.
Three people were in the home when the fire began around 12:30 p.m. Saturday. They all safely escaped.
CHICAGO -- Two men were taken into custody Sunday as "persons of interest" in the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old Chicago girl, a Chicago police spokeswoman said.
Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Melissa Stratton said the two men, ages 18 and 20, were taken into custody early Sunday morning and are being questioned. She said no charges have been filed.
The development comes one day after Hadiya Pendleton's funeral, which was attended by first lady Michelle Obama.
Pendleton was shot to death Jan. 29 in a park that is about a mile from President Barack Obama's home.