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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/11/afghanistan.replacement/art.mcchrystal.gi.jpg caption="Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal will be taking command of NATO forces in Afghanistan."]
The United States replaced the top allied commander in Afghanistan on Monday, deciding "fresh eyes" are needed to reverse the course of the seven-year-old war there, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said.
Gen. David McKiernan, who has held the post for less than a year, will be replaced by Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a former special operations chief, Gates announced. He told reporters there was "nothing specific" behind McKiernan's removal, but that "new leadership and fresh eyes" were needed in a war that Washington admits it is not winning.
"We have a new strategy, a new mission and a new ambassador. I believe that new military leadership also is needed," Gates said.
McKiernan will remain in place until the Senate confirms the appointments of McChrystal and his designated deputy, Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez. Both have previous experience in Afghanistan and more history with counterinsurgency operations than McKiernan.
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