News / Asia

Petraeus Appointment Greeted with Praise, Uncertainty in Afghanistan

General David Petraeus (file photo)
General David Petraeus (file photo)
David Dyar

U.S. President Barack Obama's announcement that he plans to change the top commander in Afghanistan from General Stanley McChrystal to General David Petraeus comes during NATO's deadliest month in the war torn country.

This June in Afghanistan has seen not only the highest number of casualties for international forces, but also a more unlikely casualty - the resignation of the top NATO commander for the country, U.S. General Stanley McChrystal.

As President Barack Obama accepted McChrystal's resignation, the president announced he planned to install U.S. General David Petraeus as the new commander.

Analysts expect lawmakers in Washington to approve General Petraeus with little fuss, considering the commander is credited with turning around the military strategy in Iraq several years ago.

But on the streets of Kabul, ordinary Afghans say they are not sure what the future holds.

Samiullah says no one knows anything about Petraeus or his plans, but all Afghan people are aware that McChrystal was serving them well.  He says he hopes Petraeus also will do a good job.

Praise for McChrystal is a common theme in Kabul.

Shafiqullah says that in the first nine years of the war, there were lots of civilian casualties.  But after McChrystal's arrival a year ago, he says the killing of civilians decreased.

Pamir says he thinks McChrystal was good because he repaired relations with civilians.  He says he does not think McChrystal treated the Afghan people badly.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai also was an outspoken supporter of General McChrystal.

Waheed Omar is a spokesman for Mr. Karzai.  He shared the president's feelings with reporters. "McChrystal's departure is sad, it's unfortunate, but General David Petraeus' arrival is good news as well," he said.

Omar says President Karzai thinks General Petreaus is the best possible choice to replace McChrystal, considering his seniority and his knowledge of the region. "In this decision of President Obama, it is an expression of commitment to Afghanistan.  General Petraeus knows the region, General Petraeus knows Afghanistan, he has been overseeing what's happening in Afghanistan and he has had a role in devising this strategy for Afghanistan, so he is no stranger to Afghanistan," he said.

But some regional experts still think Petraeus has a tall order to fill.

Analysts have credited McChrystal for reinvigorating the NATO mission in the country, by focusing it on the Afghan people and seeking to limit civilian casualties.

Mohammad Akram Khapalwak is the former governor of Paktika province.  He said he believes McChrystal did a good job with this refocused strategy.

As one example, he points out that McChrystal traveled many times with President Karzai to southern Afghanistan to speak with local elders and politicians, even as NATO and Afghan forces intensify the fight against the Taliban there. "That means that both the U.S. government and Afghan government [are] working to bring operation in a positive role - to involve the community in these operations," he said.

He says he believes changing from General McChrystal has more drawbacks than benefits. "[If you] change the commander who have good relations with the Afghan government and is well-able to bring coordination with the government and with civil peoples, [it] will bring negative aspect," he said.

Khapalwak says a new military commander in Afghanistan needs several months to get acquainted with the country and its people, precious time that is a luxury at the moment.

He says the summer season is normally Afghanistan's most violent and that this year it is combined with an impending offensive against the Taliban in Kandahar province, as well as campaigning for September's parliamentary elections.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go 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.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More