New CIA chief Petraeus hands over command in Afghanistan

July 18, 2011 11:49

KABUL - US General David Petraeus, the new director of the Central Intelligence Agency, handed over command of US and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan on Monday, a day after a gradual process of transferring security to Afghan forces began.

Petraeus, credited with reversing a spiral towards civil war in Iraq, took over in Afghanistan on July 4, 2010, and is moving to Washington to take over as CIA director as part of a wider shake-up of senior security officials.

During his year in Afghanistan, Petraeus has overseen a "surge" of 30,000 extra US forces which helped stop the momentum of a growing Taliban-led insurgency, especially in the Taliban heartland in the south.

"We should be clear-eyed about the challenges that lie ahead," Petraeus said at a ceremony to mark the change of command of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to U.S. Marine Corps General John Allen.

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