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Karzai, McChrystal Renew Commitment to Fighting Insurgency in Afghanistan

May 13, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST
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JEFFREY BROWN: But first, the war in Afghanistan and our conversation with General Stanley McChrystal, his only television interview during Afghan President Karzai’s Washington visit this week.

With General Stanley McChrystal by his side, Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited the graves at Arlington National Cemetery’s Section 60 this morning. That’s where the U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan are buried.

The trip to Arlington capped off Karzai’s four-day visit to Washington. McChrystal has been a key participant, including at meetings aimed at patching up strained relations between the two countries.

McChrystal, who has a background in special operations, took over command of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan less than a year ago. Since then, he and Karzai have said they share a good working relationship.

McChrystal has put restrictions on when U.S. forces can fire at suspected militants, in an effort to reduce civilian casualties. And he’s presided over a big military expansion in Afghanistan, which will reach a peak of 98,000 U.S. forces by the end of the summer. President Obama’s current plan is to begin bringing troops home in July 2011.

A test of McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy took place in the town of Marjah in February. The next offensive is already in its beginning stages. In June, McChrystal will lead a military and political effort to secure Kandahar Province.