News / USA

Top US Commander in Afghanistan Resigns

U.S. President Barack Obama accepted the resignation Wednesday of his top commander in Afghanistan, Army General Stanley McChrystal, and named General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. Central Command to replace him.

After more than a day of suspense in Washington, President Obama announced that he accepted McChrystal's resignation.

"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," he said.

Mr. Obama had ordered the commander to return to Washington from Afghanistan to explain a series of comments in Rolling Stone magazine by McChrystal and members of his staff.  They were quoted as mocking Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser James Jones and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, among others.  Neither McChrystal nor his aides questioned the quotes or the accuracy of the story.

Senior news analyst Gary Thomas discusses Gen. McChrystal resignation:

The president said dismissing the commander was the right decision.

"The conduct represented in the recently-published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general.  It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system.  And it erodes the trust that is necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan," said the president.



The president said he is nominating Army General David Petraeus, to replace McChrystal as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.  

Mr. Obama reassured Americans and allies that bringing in General Petraeus represents a change in personnel, not a change in policy.

"He both supported and helped design the strategy that we have in place," he said.  "In his current post at Central Command, he has worked closely with our forces in Afghanistan, he has worked closely with Congress, he has worked closely with the Afghan and Pakistan governments, and with all our partners in the region," he added.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other top Afghan officials had expressed confidence in McChrystal and hoped that he would not be removed.

The controversy comes as coalition forces have spent months struggling to control the town of Marja and preparing for an assault on Kandahar province.

It also emphasizes a series of disagreements within the Obama administration about how to proceed in Afghanistan.

The president says it is time for the squabbling to end.

"I have just told my national security team that now is the time for all of us to come together.  Doing so is not an option, but an obligation.  I welcome debate among my team.  But I will not tolerate division," said Mr. Obama.

The Petraeus nomination will require Senate confirmation.  Mr. Obama appealed to lawmakers to quickly approve General Petraeus, whose leadership he says, will help maintain the momentum and leadership the United States needs to succeed.

The chairman of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, Ike Skelton, quickly praised Petraeus as "the best that we have."

This is not the first time that McChrystal's comments have landed him in trouble.  President Obama criticized the general last year for campaigning publicly for an increased number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs