Top NATO Commander General Stanley McChrystal removed after criticizing Obama Administration; General David H. Petraeus appointed as new top commander in Afghanistan;
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  • President Obama removed his top commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal on June 23 after officials determined that comments made by him and his staff in a magazine article amounted to insubordination, a White House official noted. President Obama has accepted Gen. McChrystal's resignation and has appointed Army General David H. Petraeus, who once led US forces in Iraq, as his successor.1 While accepting McChrystal’s resignation, President Obama stated, “I believe that it is the right decision for our national security. The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general. It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system, and it erodes the trust that's necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan.”2

    Similarly, Britain's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Sherard Cowper-Coles who was counterpart of US special representative Richard C. Holbrooke, has also resigned after criticizing the elements of the US war strategy in Afghanistan. Mr. Cowper-Coles had held the position since early 2009, after serving nearly two years as British ambassador in Afghanistan. He advocated for higher priority to be given to talks with the Taliban and other insurgent groups, while he expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of increased military forces in Afghanistan.3

    However, Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai has backed the appointment of Gen. David Petraeus as the top NATO commander in Afghanistan by calling him "experienced" and an "expert commander" with knowledge of his war-torn nation. President Hamid Karzai made these comments while meeting with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen. Mullen who on a scheduled visit to Afghanistan which took a new significance after McChrystal was removed from his office.4

    The United Nations officials noted that UN will withdraw their 300 international staff in Afghanistan from Afghanistan because of increasing security threats. This move came in response to the report of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon which urged relocation of UN staff. However, the report denied any significant reduction in “substantive" foreign staff of the United Nations.5

    In other developments, according to a study conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, nearly 7 percent of the total adult Afghan population which is approximately 80,000 adults were taking drugs mainly opium, heroin, opiate derivatives or tranquilizers. The report has been prepared in collaboration of the United Nations, the Afghan Counter-Narcotics Ministry and the Public Health Ministry of Afghanistan. The report also revealed that the most commonly used drug was opium.6