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Afghan military forces have proven themselves capable in combat, but US and NATO forces are still necessary to suppress the threat of al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in the region, said Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, the top US and NATO general in Afghanistan. "Over the past few years, Afghan forces have become increasingly competent, capable, and credible," said Dunford on Aug. 8 in a speech he gave via video teleconference from Kabul to the Reserve Officers Association's National Security Symposium in Washington, D.C. He said the Afghans should be able to maintain security once the NATO combat mission ends in Afghanistan on Dec. 31, 2014. However, Dunford said he was concerned with the results of a recent poll that found that the majority of Americans surveyed no longer think the war in Afghanistan was worth fighting, while nearly half believe all US forces should come home in the next year. "We still have 60,000 men and women in uniform in harm's way, and the American people need to understand why they are here, what they are doing, and what they are trying to accomplish," he said. (AFPS report by Jim Garamone)