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Archive for Saturday, October 10, 2009

Obama picks Kansas general for Afghan post

October 10, 2009

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— President Barack Obama nominated the commander of Fort Leavenworth to lead U.S. and NATO efforts to train Afghan forces as the war’s top U.S. general pushes for more help in developing Afghanistan’s fledgling military.

Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV would join Gen. Stanley McChrystal if confirmed by the Senate this fall. He would focus on training the Afghan forces to fight the Taliban, al-Qaida and other terrorists.

Caldwell, commander of the Kansas post since July 2007, guided development of the Army’s plans for training foreign security forces. He also oversees officer education.

“He did a great job in command of Fort Leavenworth and will do great things in his new post,” Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, said Friday. “I am confident the president’s new command team can develop and implement an effective strategy to regain momentum in Afghanistan.”

The nomination, announced late Thursday, comes as Obama reviews McChrystal’s assessment of the war and the need to develop Afghanistan’s fledgling military to combat a resurgent Taliban. McChrystal wants as many as 40,000 additional troops. There are 65,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan now.

John Nagl, president of the Center for a New American Security in Washington, D.C., called Caldwell “the right man at the right time” and believes he will easily be confirmed by the Senate.

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