McChrystal relieved of command

WASHINGTON, June 23 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Wednesday that U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal was no longer in charge of the war in Afghanistan.

Obama in an Wednesday statement from the Rose Garden of the White House said he accepted the resignation of McChrystal as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.


"I did so with considerable regret," said Obama.

McChrystal caught fire after an article from Rolling Stone magazine leaked to the media earlier this week. Aides to McChrystal revealed to the magazine that the general was frustrated with his civilian counterparts and that Obama was "intimidated" by Pentagon brass.

McChrystal was summoned to Washington for a Wednesday meeting with Obama to answer for the profile in Rolling Stone.

Obama stated tersely that the issues raised in the Rolling Stone article undermined mission confidence in Afghanistan.

Waliullah Rahmani, an analyst at the Kabul Center for Strategic Studies, told The Christian Science Monitor that the Rolling Stone article revealed nothing new in terms of the relationship between McChrystal and others, notably Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. envoy to Afghanistan.

Eikenberry, the former top military commander in Afghanistan, was opposed to Obama's plans to put more boots on the ground in Afghanistan, saying last year that the surge was "not a good idea."


Afghan President Hamid Karzai before the announcement Wednesday said replacing McChrystal "would not be helpful" for the counterinsurgency operation under way in his country, Pakistani newspaper The National reported.

"The president believes that we're in a sensitive juncture in our partnership, in our war on terror, in process of bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan and that any gap in this process will not be helpful," said Karzai spokesman Waheed Omar.

Karzai during a teleconference Tuesday with Obama said he had "confidence" in McChrystal.

U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, is to take over command in Afghanistan. McChrystal was considered a disciple of Petraeus, who developed the war plan in Iraq used as a model for the Afghan war strategy.

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