US replacing top commander in Afghanistan

May 12th, 2009 - 3:17 am ICT by IANS  

Taliban Washington, May 12 (DPA) US Defence Secretary Robert Gates announced Monday that he is replacing the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan to bring a fresh approach to the conflict.
Gates told reporters at the Pentagon he has asked General David McKiernan to submit his resignation and nominated Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal to become the next commander. The Senate must approve McChrystal for the job.

McKiernan was being replaced after only 11 months on the job, but during a period of continued deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan and the fight with the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Gates said a new commander in Afghanistan was needed under the revised strategy enacted by President Barack Obama that includes putting more soldiers and resources into the conflict.

“Today we have a new policy set by our new president. We have a new strategy, a new mission and a new ambassador. I believe that new military leadership also is needed,” Gates said.

McChrystal is a former commander of special operations and currently is director of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. McKiernan will remain on the job until McChrystal takes over. Gates said McKiernan’s resignation “probably” means his military career has ended.

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