Barack Obama has fired his top commander in Afghanistan. The president summoned General Stanley McChrystal to the White House over comments seen as damaging to the war effort.
Obama named General David Petraeus as McChrystal’s replacement after what was described by Washington aids as a tense 30 minute meeting with the errant McChrsystal.
“As difficult as it is to lose General McCrystal, I believe that it is the right decision for our national security,” said President Obama.
“The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general.”
In an interview to a magazine, McChrystal and his his advisers were quoted openly criticising and mocking top administration officials. Obama described the interview as an error of judgement but has quickly played down any crisis in the running of the war in Afghanistan.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was also keen to play down any problems.
“While he will no longer be the commander, the approach he helped put in place is the right one. The strategy continues to have NATO support and our forces will continue to carry it out.”
McChrystal’s replacement is due to take up his position in the next few days but official Senate approval will have to be sought. That is expected next week. Until then, a British general will take temporary charge of NATO forces.