He has been hand-picked by the US President to lead the fight in Afghanistan – and according to the White House, represents continuity and reassurance.
So Senate approval appeared assured for General David Petraeus, who became one of the US military’s best-known faces after his work turning round the conflict in Iraq.
He warned there will be no quick turnaround:“My sense is that the tough fighting will continue: indeed, it may get more intense in the next few months as we take away the enemy’s safe-havens and reduce their freedom of action, they will fight back.”, the general told the Senate committee.
The former US commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, was fired by Barack Obama last week after criticising senior US officials in a magazine article.
Petraeus has made it clear he supports Obama’s strategy of beginning a transfer of authority and a troop withdrawal in July 2011.
But questions are also being raised about the reliability of the Afghan government as a partner and the quality of Afghan forces.