New U.S. commander of the international military mission in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, has called for united efforts to solve the problems of the war-ravaged country. The U.S. general made his first public comments a day after arriving in Kabul to take command of the 140,000 American and NATO forces.
General David Petraeus has arrived in Afghanistan to lead the international forces at a time of rising Taliban insurgency. The month of June was the deadliest for the U.S.-led coalition since the Afghan war began nearly nine years ago.
Addressing hundreds of local and foreign guests gathered at the U.S. Embassy to mark America's Independence Day, General Petraeus underlined the need for unity to deal with the challenges in Afghanistan.
"This is an effort in which we must achieve unity of effort and common purpose, civilian and military, Afghan and international, we are part of one team with one mission," he said.
As the U.S. general put it for the Afghan audience, "Your success is our success".
"In this important endeavor cooperation is not optional. This is a tough mission. There is nothing easy about it. But working together we can achieve progress, and we can achieve our mutual objectives," he said.
President Barack Obama nominated General Petraeus as the new commander of the international forces in Afghanistan after his predecessor General Stanley McChrystal stepped down last week for making critical remarks in a magazine article against senior officials of the U.S. administration.
General Petraeus arrived in the country after the U.S. Senate approved his appointment and he will formally take command of the 140,000 U.S and NATO forces on Sunday at a ceremony in Kabul.
Hours before he landed in Afghanistan, Taliban suicide bombers raided an office of a U.S.-based aid group in a northern province, killing five people and wounding more than 20 others. Foreigners were among the victims.
General Petraeus is credited with turning around the war effort in Iraq and pioneered the current counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, which entails tackling the Taliban in their strongholds while relying on the Afghan government to simultaneously improve local governance and development.
But many believe that the unchecked corruption in the administration of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the booming drug trade are hampering political efforts aimed at stabilizing Afghanistan.