By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service
June 23, 2010 - Shortly after President Barack Obama announced today that he had accepted Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal's resignation as the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, the departing general released a written statement expressing his support for the president's Afghanistan policy.
McChrystal stepped down after remarks criticizing administration officials were attributed to him and members of his staff in a Rolling Stone magazine article.
"This morning the president accepted my resignation as commander of U.S. and NATO coalition forces in Afghanistan," McChrystal said in his statement. "I strongly support the president's strategy in Afghanistan and am deeply committed to our coalition forces, our partner nations and the Afghan people. It was out of respect for this commitment and the desire to see the mission succeed that I tendered my resignation."
McChrystal assumed command in Afghanistan in May, with an assessment of the war effort as his first task. Based on McChrystal's assessment, Obama ordered an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Before serving in Afghanistan, McChrystal was the director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. He also had served as the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command. He spent the majority of his military career commanding special operations and airborne infantry units. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen issued a statement on the NATO Web site, thanking McChrystal for his service.
"While he will no longer be the commander, the approach he helped put in place is the right one," Rasmussen said. "The strategy continues to have NATO's support, and our forces will continue to carry it out. Our operations in Afghanistan are continuing today, and they will not miss a beat."
The president said he's nominating Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, to replace McChrystal. Petraeus was a key participant in helping to design the strategy that led to the Afghanistan troop surge, the president said. As Centcom commander Petraeus has oversight of the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Before taking Centcom's reins, Petraeus commanded U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq.