"New team faces daunting challenges"

"In Afghanistan, new team faces daunting challenges"

Washington Examiner, May 25, 2009, National Security Column

by Kimberly Kagan



The Senate will soon consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal to command military forces in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez as his deputy and Adm. James Stavridis to command NATO. When these three military leaders take their posts, joining new U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, the president will have changed the entire U.S. senior leadership for Afghanistan — aside from Gen. David Petraeus, who arrived at Central Command in October 2008. The new leadership, combined with the increase in U.S. forces, creates the opportunity to revamp the effort to stabilize Afghanistan.

The challenges facing this outstanding team are daunting. It will have to reorganize the command structure of American and international forces, develop a comprehensive new military campaign plan, and support a fresh approach for the international relief effort. In addition, it will have to help the Afghans conduct presidential elections in August, begin an expansion of the Afghan National Security Forces, and continue to provide support on the Afghan side of the border for Pakistani military operations against common enemies in the Swat River Valley and elsewhere.


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