New US commander takes charge of NATO troops in Afghanistan

June 15th, 2009 - 7:13 pm ICT by ANI  

Kabul, June 15 (ANI): General Stanley McChrystal took command of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan at a formal handover ceremony here Monday.

A former commander of the US Joint Special Operations Command until August 2008, General McChrystal replaces General David McKiernan, who was sacked by US Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates because of the Obama administration “new thinking” for the war-torn country.

On assuming charge, General McChrystal promised that during his tour of duty he would seek to minimize civilian losses among Afghans with the objective of winning back local support for NATO troops.

McChrystal, 54, was the commanding general of the Joint Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, North Carolina from September 2003 to February 2006, and then commander of Joint Special Operations Command until August 2008.

Those positions put him in the thick of US special operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

He has been credited with running the 2006 operation that hunted down and killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and with devising the still-classified tactics used to smash Al-Qaeda and Iranian-backed cells in 2007 and 2008.

A 1976 West Point graduate, General McChrystal has had a stellar army career with time off for study at Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the Council on Foreign Affairs, and the Naval War College.

Before taking command in Afghanistan, McChrystal was a director in the offices of The Joint Staff in Washington. He was promoted to general before arriving in Kabul. (ANI)

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