Obama seeks to reassure Karzai over McChrystal departure
US President Barack Obama sought Wednesday to reassure Afghan president Hamid Karzai over the dismissal of the top US general leading the NATO war effort against the Taliban and al- Qaeda, DPA reported.
Karzai, who is known to have had a close relationship with General Stanley McChrystal, told Obama he believed the departure would disrupt the war effort, officials in Kabul said.
In a phone call to inform Karzai of McChrystal's ouster, Obama emphasized that "this personnel change in no way impacts United States policy in Afghanistan or the level of our commitment to Afghanistans future," according to a statement issued by the White House.
McChrystal lost his job over an article in Rolling Stone magazine that portrayed him as dismissive of senior US officials for their concerns about the ongoing war effort.
Obama has replaced him with General David Petraeus, currently the head of all forces in the Middle East at the top of Central Command and the archictect and commander of the successful US military surge in Iraq.
The White House said that Karzai "welcomed" the Petraeus nomination and "assured President Obama that he would take all steps necessary to support a successful transition."
According to a Karzai spokesman, the Afghan leader told Obama of his concerns about the effect on the war effort, which has become mired down in an offensive in Marjah that was to have been the model for a now-delayed military initiative in Kandahar, one of the Taliban's biggest strongholds.
Karzai "is of the view that McChrystal has been a great partner of the Afghan government and the Afghan people," spokesman Wahid Omar said in Kabul. "He is a soldier of great integrity and he has been very helpful in the process here in Afghanistan."
McChrystal also has his supporters in Europe, where NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that McChrystal helped put the NATO effort on the "right" track.