Monday, May 11, 2009

Obama and co. to Replace Top General in Afghanistan

While Obama has OK-ed a troop surge for Afghanistan, he is replacing the top US General who had been asking for the troops. The reason being is that Obama has a new strategy which is based on nonmilitary solutions, so this calls for a new leader. I guess that this is the reach out to the "moderate" Taliban members part.

Official: US to replace top general in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon will replace its top general in Afghanistan as President Barack Obama tries to turn around a stalemated war, defense officials said.]

The exit of Gen. David McKiernan comes as more than 21,000 additional U.S. forces begin to arrive in Afghanistan, dispatched by Obama to confront the Taliban more forcefully this spring and summer.

McKiernan, on the job about a year, has asked repeatedly for additional forces. He has argued that his forces, while technically far superior, cannot hold ground against the Taliban in the volatile East and South.

Obama's revamped strategy for Afghanistan does markedly increase the number of U.S. forces in the country but focuses on nonmilitary solutions as a better long-term approach.

Military officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said McKiernan will be replaced by Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was likely to announce the new leadership in Afghanistan later Monday, an official said.

Obama has approved a new strategy for Afghanistan and Gates wants new leadership to carry it out, the defense official said.

McKiernan was named to his post by former President George W. Bush.

Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen scheduled a Monday afternoon news conference at which Gates will discuss his trip last week to Afghanistan and new plans for the seven-year-old Afghan campaign, which during the Bush administration took a back seat to the war in Iraq.

McChrystal has had a top administrative job at the Joint Chiefs of Staff for less than a year. He is a former commander of the Joint Special Operations Command.

Lt. Gen. David M. Rodriguez, who serves as top military aide to Gates, will be deputy to McChrystal in Afghanistan, the defense official said.

Obama had approved 17,000 additional combat forces for Afghanistan this year, plus 4,000 trainers and other non-combat troops. By year's end, the United States will have more than 68,000 troops in the sprawling country — about double the total at the end of Bush's presidency but still far fewer than the approximately 130,000 still in Iraq.

McKiernan and other U.S. commanders have said resources they need in Afghanistan are tied up in Iraq.

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