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General Petraeus: Obama's new hope in Afghanistan

Other News Materials 24 June 2010 01:18
General David Petraeus has already carried the hopes of one US president, credited with salvaging the war in Iraq for George W Bush.
General Petraeus: Obama's new hope in Afghanistan

General David Petraeus has already carried the hopes of one US president, credited with salvaging the war in Iraq for George W Bush, DPA reported.

This time, President Barack Obama is counting on the 57-year-old four-star general to take the reins of an equally desperate conflict in Afghanistan, as commander of NATO forces.

There was little surprise in Washington that the burden would be placed on Petraeus to take over from Afghan General Stanley McChrystal, who was forced to resign Wednesday over disparaging remarks made against the Obama administration in a US magazine profile.

The highly decorated Petraeus has been head of Central Command in Florida since 2008, overseeing military operations in the Middle East and parts of Africa and South Asia, including Afghanistan, but with less of a direct role.

Before that assignment, Petraeus commanded coalition forces in Iraq for 15 months, leading the troop surge ordered by Bush as part of a revised strategy that dramatically reduced violence.

Petraeus, a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point with a doctorate from Princeton University, had been involved in the Iraq war from the start, commanding the 101st Airborne division to Baghdad in 2003. He later led US troops in northern Iraq from the city of Mosul, and from 2004-2005 led the training of the Iraqi Army.

When he took command of all Iraqi forces February 2007, his task was dubbed "Mission Impossible" by many critics and the US media.

Petraeus was promoted to Central Command largely because of his experience in counter insurgencies, which will help him in his new task of defeating al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

More recently, Petraeus was in the headlines after he collapsed during a congressional hearing last week. But the general was able to walk out of the room under his own power and quickly returned to complete his testimony.

Petraeus said his fainting was likely a simple case of dehydration. Washington hopes it is not a bad omen.

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