November 1st, 2010
11:04 AM ET

Petraeus on Afghanistan, Iran, Taliban strategy

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr sat down with the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, for an in-depth exclusive interview. Some highlights:

Petraeus says the Taliban's momentum in Afghanistan has "broadly been arrested" in some locations. "My assessment is that the momentum the Taliban enjoyed until probably late summer has broadly been arrested in the country," Petraeus said. "It doesn't mean it's been arrested in every location in the country, but it means by and large that is the case. Read and watch more

He said he expects to be able to recommend to President Barack Obama that the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan could begin to be reduced in July 2011, but he declined to say how many troops might be headed home.  Read more on the transition, Karzai and more

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Filed under: Iran • Karzai • Petraeus
October 19th, 2010
04:13 PM ET

Iran joins talks and Petraeus briefing on Afghanistan

For the first time since the start of the war, an Iranian representative joined international talks on Afghanistan.

Iran's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Qanezadeh, attended the meeting Monday in Rome of the coordinating group of representatives for Afghanistan and Pakistan from more than 40 countries as well as the United Nations and European Union .

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Iran • Petraeus • Understanding Afghanistan
October 15th, 2010
08:17 AM ET

Petraeus: 'Right strategy' in place

The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan said Friday he is confident that the tough fight in Afghanistan is headed in the right direction and he backs the president's peace moves.

"No one should have any illusions about how difficult the fight will continue to be as we and our Afghan partners strive to bring peace to a nation that has suffered through more than 30 years of continuous war," Petraeus said in a lecture at the Royal United Services Institute.

"Still, I believe that we now have the right strategy in place." FULL POST

Filed under: Petraeus
September 7th, 2010
10:25 AM ET

Petraeus: Quran-burning could endanger troops

The U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Monday criticized a Florida church's plan to burn copies of the Quran on September 11, warning the demonstration "could cause significant problems" for American troops overseas.

"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan," Gen. David Petraeus said FULL POST

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Filed under: Petraeus • Troops
August 12th, 2010
03:53 PM ET

Questions on July 2011 date dog Petraeus

WASHINGTON — One of the key goals of the new commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, is to try to settle the debate on what the significance is of the July 2011 date, according to an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) official familiar with Petraeus' thinking.

After a month in the job where he stayed mostly out of public view, the general is preparing a round of interviews with media outlets.

The significance of July 2011 in the Afghanistan war continues to be a question that the administration is struggling to answer clearly.

U.S. military officials are stressing that any withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan beginning in July 2011 could be fairly minor and will be based on conditions on the ground. When asked if the number of troops to be withdrawn in July could be relatively small, a senior U.S. military official told reporters "we still think that's the case." FULL POST

August 12th, 2010
09:26 AM ET

Opinion: Petraeus faces mission impossible

Many hope that Gen. David Petraeus will save the day in Afghanistan, following what they see as his great success in Iraq. His appointment has been met with nearly unqualified praise. ...

When you meet him, it is easy to see why he is so popular. He is well-educated, West Point and Princeton doctorates; politically savvy, no nasty quotes in Rolling Stone or anywhere else; and very personable.

So it distresses me, but I feel feel honor-bound to point out that the Iraq he left behind is in shambles; that he is not applying what worked in Iraq to Afghanistan; and that the challenges there are much more daunting than in Iraq.

Read the full Opinion from Amitai Etzioni, a professor of international relations at George Washington University and the author of several books, including "Security First" and "New Common Ground."

Filed under: Petraeus • Voices • Your View
Petraeus issues new Afghan directive
August 3rd, 2010
10:21 PM ET

Petraeus issues new Afghan directive

[Update: August 4, 2010] Gen. David Petraeus on Wednesday issued a new "tactical directive" for forces in Afghanistan that emphasizes guidance for the use of force by troops operating in the country.  The directive states that before firing, the commander authorizing a strike must determine that there are no civilians present. If the status of civilians is unknown, firing is prohibited except when certain types of risk to troops exist.

[Original post: August 3, 2010] Gen. David Petraeus is expected to soon issue a new "tactical directive" spelling out his views on how coalition air and ground operations should be conducted in Afghanistan, according to several U.S. and coalition military officials. FULL POST

Filed under: Petraeus
August 1st, 2010
04:26 PM ET

Petraeus' rules: Fight Taliban, get to know the locals

Fight the Taliban "relentlessly." Don't tolerate corruption. Drink "lots of tea" with the locals.

Those admonitions are among the two dozen guidelines for counterinsurgency warfare that Gen. David Petraeus issued to U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan on Sunday. In his first major public pronouncement since taking command in early July, Petraeus urged American troops and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force to learn and adapt to the culture of Afghanistan while battling the Taliban insurgents and their allies.

"The decisive terrain is the human terrain," Petraeus wrote. "The people are the center of gravity. Only by providing them security and earning their trust and confidence can the Afghan government and ISAF prevail."


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Filed under: Civilian deaths • Marjah • Petraeus • Taliban
July 9th, 2010
01:56 PM ET

'Tough talking' general picked to oversee Iraq, Afghan wars

A controversial and leading U.S. general is in line to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Thursday.

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis - if he wins presidential and Senate approval - will move from being the outgoing commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command to leading the U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Southwest Asia - including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. It also monitors Iran.

He would take over the post left open by the departure of Gen. David Petraeus, who was asked to take over command of the war in Afghanistan.


Filed under: Pentagon • Petraeus
July 5th, 2010
12:12 PM ET

Petraeus formally assumes command in Afghanistan

Gen. David Petraeus formally assumed command of NATO's International Security Assistance Force during a ceremony Sunday at the command's headquarters in Kabul.

In a speech Saturday, Petraeus called for unity on all fronts of the war in Afghanistan.

"I'm reminded we must achieve unity of effort and common purpose,"Petraeus told a crowd of about 1,700 at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. "Civilian and military, Afghan and international. We are part of one team with one mission." Petraeus was tapped by President Barack Obama as the new top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal.


Filed under: Daily Developments • Petraeus