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Gen. McChrystal Takes Command, Meets with President Karzai

General Stanley McChrystal officially took charge of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan in a ceremony at the ISAF headquarters in Kabul on June 15. He also met with President Hamid Karzai, who stated that one of the main short-term priorities should be minimizing civilian casualties in Afghanistan.

McChrystal, who replaces Gen. David McKiernan, will be heading the 90,000 American and NATO troops currently present in Afghanistan. He is expected to bring a new approach to the war against the insurgency in Afghanistan and to minimize civilian deaths from coalition operations. McChrystal has vowed to protect civilians and respect local customs, calling the civilians the center of the mission in Afghanistan.

"The Afghan people are at the center of our mission. In reality, they are the mission. We must protect them from violence, whatever its nature. We must respect their religion and traditions," he said Monday.

Gen. McChrystal will conduct a review of the military strategy in Afghanistan and produce a report of his recommendations in two months.

In a statement in May, Ambassador Said T. Jawad praised Gen. McChrystal's appointment, saying, "General McChrystal is a seasoned soldier known for his innovative thinking and action in unconventional battlegrounds."

Related News: Karzai Meets New Troops Chief (AP)

                      New U.S. Ambassador and Military Commander for Afghanistan

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