US Afghan commander Stanley McChrystal fired by Obama

The top US military commander in Afghanistan, Gen Stanley McChrystal, has been dismissed by President Barack Obama after he criticised leading administration officials.

He had earlier agreed with Mr Obama that his statements in Rolling Stone magazine showed “poor judgement”.

News that Gen McChrystal was standing down came after he met Mr Obama at the White House.

He will be succeeded by General David Petraeus, US officials say.

Mr Obama said he had made the decision as Gen McChrystal had failed to “meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general”.

He insisted: “I don’t make this decision based on any difference in policy with General McChrystal, nor on any personal insult.”

Afghan President Hamid Karzai had indicated he did not want Gen McChrystal replaced, with a spokesman describing him as the best commander in nine years of US military operations in Afghanistan.

Gen McChrystal quickly apologised for the magazine article, The Runaway General, written by Michael Hastings and due out on Friday, extending his “sincerest apology” and saying it showed a lack of integrity.

“It was a mistake reflecting poor judgement and should never have happened,” he said.

Gen McChrystal was due to face those he and his aides had criticised at the administration’s monthly meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan on Wednesday, but apparently left the White House after a 30-minute meeting with Mr Obama. Their targets were:

Joe Biden. Gen McChrystal had mocked the vice-president when asked a question about him. “Are you asking about Vice-President Biden? Who’s that?”
Karl Eikenberry. Gen McChrystal said he felt “betrayed” by the US ambassador to Kabul during the long 2009 White House debate on troop requests for Afghanistan
James Jones. One of Gen McChrystal’s aides says the national security adviser is a “clown… stuck in 1985”
Richard Holbrooke. Gen McChrystal says of an e-mail from the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan: “Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke… I don’t even want to open it”

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