The top US commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, is said to have offered his resignation after making disparaging remarks in a magazine interview.
The NATO supremo is en route to Washington after being summoned by an angry President Obama to explain himself.
“I think it is clear that the article in which he and his team appeared showed poor judgement. But I also want to make sure that I talk to him directly before I make any final decisions,” said President Obama.
McChrystal has already apologised for the article which quotes him making belittling remarks about the US Vice President and top government officials.
The article also quoted a McChrystal aid dismissing the president as ill-informed and his first meeting with the general merely as a photo opportunity.
But the damage goes beyond critical words. The comments threaten to fracture a united front that the Washington administration has sought to build for the war and could distract efforts to hold together an international coalition doing the fighting.
But McChrystal could be too important to lose. As the architect of the current military surge, he is the one military leader to have won the confidence of Afghanistan’s President Karzai.