President Barack Obama on Wednesday accepted Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s resignation from his position as head commander of the war in Afghanistan and named Gen. David Petraeus will replace him.
“Today I accepted General Stanley McChrystal’s resignation as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan,” Obama said Wednesday afternoon at a news conference in the Rose Garden. “I did so with considerable regret, but also with certainty that it is the right thing for our mission in Afghanistan, for our military, and for our country.
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“I’m also pleased to nominate General David Petraeus to take command in Afghanistan, which will allow us to maintain the momentum and leadership that we need to succeed.”
The announcement followed a short meeting between McChrystal and the president. Obama summoned McChrystal to Washington after learning of a Rolling Stone profile in which the general trash-talked the president, his national security team and war strategy rival Vice President Joseph Biden.
McChrystal apologized about the remarks Tuesday.
Obama said his decision did not reflect “any difference in policy with General McChrystal, as we are in full agreement about our strategy…Nor do I make this decision out of any sense of personal insult.”
“This morning the President accepted my resignation as Commander of U.S. and NATO Coalition Forces in Afghanistan,” McChrystal said in a statement to The Associated Press. “I strongly support the President’s strategy in Afghanistan and am deeply committed to our coalition forces, our partner nations, and the Afghan people. It was out of respect for this commitment – and a desire to see the mission succeed – that I tendered my resignation.”
McChrystal resigned despite Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai’s open support for the general.
The controversial remarks went public amid dwindling public support for the war and reports of growing causalities, civilian suffering and corruption in Afghanistan. Critics have raised concerns that the elaborate counterinsurgency strategy implemented by McChrystal last year would keep US forces in Afghanistan much longer than next summer, when the Obama administration said it wants to bring troops home.
Biden and McChrystal had debated war strategy in Afghanistan, with Biden supporting strategic strikes against terrorist leaders over the broad-based military presence favored by McChrystal.
Petraeus is head of US Central Command and led the 2007 US surge in Iraq.