Gen. Petraeus confirmed as new US Afghan commander

Gen. David Petraeus listens to President Barack Obama announce him to be the new commander in Afghanistan, June 23, 2010.

From Susan Cornwell and Phil Stewart, Reuters: The U.S. Senate unanimously voted on Wednesday to confirm David Petraeus as commander of the troubled Afghan war, pinning U.S. hopes on the four-star general who helped turn around the conflict in Iraq.

Petraeus, seen by some analysts as President Barack Obama’s last, best hope to salvage the Afghan mission, won full support from both Obama’s Democrats and opposition Republicans after the previous commander was sacked one week ago. He was confirmed in a 99-0 vote on the Senate floor.

The support for Petraeus came despite growing anxiety in both parties about the direction of an unpopular war, in which casualties are rising ahead of November U.S. congressional elections.

"Regardless of who is in command, the president’s current strategy in Afghanistan is counterproductive," Senator Russ Feingold, a Democrat, said after casting his vote in a favor of Petraeus, who he stressed was "clearly qualified" for the job. …

Statement by President Barack Obama, from the White House:  I am extremely grateful to the Senate for acting so quickly to confirm General Petraeus to lead our military effort in Afghanistan. General Petraeus is a pivotal part of our effort to succeed in Afghanistan – and in our broader effort to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda – and he has my full confidence. The Senate’s quick action and General Petraeus’s unrivaled experience will ensure we do not miss a beat in our strategy to break the Taliban’s momentum and build Afghan capacity.  (photo: Getty)

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