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Petraeus confirmed as Afghan war commander

WASHINGTON - The Senate unanimously confirmed Gen. David Petraeus yesterday as the new commander of the Afghanistan war, and President Barack Obama swiftly issued a statement saying Petraeus had his "full confidence."

Petraeus replaces Gen. Stanley McChrystal, whose career ended in disgrace because of inflammatory remarks he and his aides made to Rolling Stone magazine.

"Gen. Petraeus is a pivotal part of our effort to succeed in Afghanistan - and in our broader effort to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida - and he has my full confidence," Obama said.

Obama said the Senate's quick action and Petraeus' "unrivaled experience will ensure we do not miss a beat in our strategy to break the Taliban's momentum and build Afghan capacity."

Petraeus won overwhelming praise from both Republicans and Democrats.

"For those who doubt the president's desire and commitment to succeed in Afghanistan, his nomination of Gen. Petraeus to run this war should cause them to think twice," said Sen. John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

During his confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Petraeus left open the possibility of recommending that Obama delay his plans to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan next summer.

"My sense is that the tough fighting will continue; indeed, it may get more intense in the next few months," Petraeus told the Senate panel. "As we take away the enemy's safe havens and reduce the enemy's freedom of action, the insurgents will fight back."

- AP

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