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US Military Chief to Reassure Afghans

U.S. military chief Admiral Mike Mullen says he plans to reassure the Afghan government that the replacement of the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan will not change the way the war is being fought.

Mullen is in Afghanistan for meetings with military and civilian leaders following the departure of General Stanley McChrystal. Ahead of the trip, Mullen said "nothing changes" about the strategy or the mission.

An Afghan presidential spokesman, Waheed Omar, called McChrystal's resignation "unfortunate." However, he welcomed President Barack Obama's choice of U.S. Central Command chief David Petraeus to replace McChrystal.

In the United States, a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee called for more hearings on the mission in Afghanistan. In a letter Friday, the seven senators said they want clear answers on goals for the mission, and to hear a detailed plan on how to achieve those goals.

McChrystal resigned Wednesday, after he and several aides were quoted in a U.S. magazine making sarcastic and dismissive references to top U.S. leadership, including Vice President Joe Biden.

Admiral Mullen is also scheduled to visit Pakistan during his trip for meetings with regional leaders there.

Meanwhile, a landmine accidentally exploded inside an Afghan army vehicle in Kabul. Police officials had said initially they suspected a suicide bomber was responsible for the Saturday morning blast near the foreign ministry. Reuters news agency reports the blast killed the the army driver.

In southern Afghanistan, a NATO service member was killed in a bomb blast Saturday. NATO did not reveal the member's nationality.

NATO says an Afghan-international security force has killed a senior Taliban commander in northern Logar province. The force had tracked Ghulam Sakhi to a compound near the village of Qal-eh Saber in Pul-e Alam district.

NATO says troops called for women and children to exit the building Friday and Sakhi came out disguised as a woman. He opened fire and was shot. During the exchange Sakhi dropped a grenade, wounding a woman and two children.

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