Dunford said the U.S. does not expect that all violence will cease in Afghanistan by next year, but that the goal is to leave the country with a foundation for peace, and then follow up with advisory support.
"From my perspective, we'll still need to be in the four corners of the country post 2014," he said. "We'll still need to provide advice and assistance to the Afghan core level."
He said that, similarly to the situation in Iraq after the U.S. withdrawal, Afghanistan's ultimate success needs to be measured in years, not months.
"I see a great opportunity today for stability and security in Afghanistan 10 years from now," said Dunford. "But it is going to be a long-term process. ... What we are really trying to do by the end of 2014 is provide the Afghans with what I would describe as a 'decade of opportunity.' At that point, security and stability will be in their hands."