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Relief greets Obama pick for new war commander

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By The Staff

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — America's Afghan and international allies embraced the choice of Gen. David Petraeus to run the war in Afghanistan, hoping the architect of the Iraq surge will seamlessly pursue the strategy laid down by his predecessor and smooth over divisions that led to his dismissal.

By naming Petraeus, President Barack Obama managed to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal without derailing the mission at a critical juncture in the war, when casualties are rising and public support in the West is waning.

Still, the jury is out on whether the counterinsurgency strategy that Petraeus used to turn around the Iraq war will show results in Afghanistan by July 2011, when Obama wants to begin withdrawing U.S. troops.

The split between the U.S. civilian and military team in Afghanistan has not disappeared with McChrystal's departure. Those fissures, laid bare in disparaging remarks to Rolling Stone magazine, led to McChrystal's dismissal Wednesday.

Petraeus inherits myriad challenges. Among them:

— Eighty international troops have died so far this month, making June the deadliest month of the nearly 9-year-old war.


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