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US Pick for Top Commander in Afghanistan Predicts Success

By VOA News
02 June 2009

The U.S. Army general nominated to oversee American and NATO forces in Afghanistan says he believes the war can be won, but it will not be easy.

Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal says several elements are important for succeeding in Afghanistan, including preventing the establishment of safe havens for militant groups and promoting stability for Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan.

The nominee testified Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The general predicted there would be more "stiff fighting" ahead in Afghanistan. He said success would be measured partly by the number of Afghans shielded from insurgent violence.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates picked McChrystal to replace General David McKiernan. Defense officials asked General McKiernan to step down to allow a new military leader to implement an updated U.S. strategy for the Afghan war.

General McKiernan delivered his farewell address at the U.S. and NATO command in Kabul Tuesday. He said "this year and next will be the two most important years" for Afghanistan since 2001 and 2002. He called the Afghan mission a "noble and valuable" one.

U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered the deployment of 17,000 more combat troops to Afghanistan to fight a worsening Taliban insurgency. He also is sending 4,000 U.S. trainers and non-combat troops to help with reconstruction.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.



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