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Difficult Afghan mission gets harder

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Petraeus pick attempts to minimize disruptions from McChrystal's removal

President Obama's decision to relieve Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal of his duties will create new complications for the troubled U.S. effort to stabilize Afghanistan, but selecting Gen. David H. Petraeus to replace him represents an attempt to minimize disruptions resulting from a change in command. In his year as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, McChrystal forged the closest relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai of any senior American official. He selected the officers who populate senior ranks of the multinational headquarters in Kabul. And he created a campaign plan that outlines a series of troop movements and operations reflecting his interpretation of the strategy set by Obama and his national security cabinet last year.

With McChrystal gone, much of that will have to be built anew — at a moment when the military and civilian government agencies have little time left to generate the momentum needed to convince Afghans and Americans alike that the U.S. strategy, backed by 30,000 additional troops, will be able to marginalize the Taliban. Obama made clear as he deployed the new forces that some of them would begin to come home next summer.


                                               Look at the flowers

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