Petraeus Confirmed as New Afghan War Commander

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Gen. David Petraeus was unanimously confirmed as the new U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, Wednesday, after breezing through a series of Senate hearings.

Lawmakers voted 99-0 for Petraeus to take the place of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was forced to resign after making inflammatory remarks about the Obama administration.

"For those who doubt the president's desire and commitment to succeed in Afghanistan, his nomination of Gen. Petraeus to run this war should cause them to think twice," said Sen. John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Petraeus faces a much bigger fight on the battlefield where he is expected to produce results by the end of the year.

"Protecting the population inevitably requires killing, capturing, or turning the insurgents," he told the committee Tuesday.

The panel gave the U.S. Army general the green light to take over as commander of U.S. and international coalition forces in Afghanistan following an uneventful day of testimony.

Petraeus predicted "tough fighting" ahead in what has become the longest foreign war in American history.

"July 2011 will mark the beginning of a process, not the date when the U.S. heads for the exits and turns out the lights," Petreaus said.

Having inherited the Iraq War in its darkest days, the general is no stranger to tough battles.

Still, some say Afghanistan may be a much more difficult challenge with attacks in the war-torn region up 94 percent resulting in a record number of international troops being killed and wounded.

In addition, more Afghan civilians have been killed or injured than ever before. And the entrenched Taliban insurgents are expected to fight even more fiercely for their historic homeland - including the rugged mountains that have given them refuge.

"They will consolidate in these areas and then operate from them to carry out attacks on the highway and attacks on Afghan National Security Forces and Coalition forces," U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jeffrey French said.

The other battle Petraeus faces is a large one -- public perception. Recent polls show the war in Afghanistan has become increasingly unpopular among the American people.

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