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U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Petraeus

The Senate today unanimously confirmed Army Gen. David H. Petraeus to be commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan.

The Senate acted quickly on the nomination after yesterday’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The Senate confirmation also kicked in NATO approval for the general to become commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama thanked the Senate for its prompt action.

“General Petraeus is a pivotal part of our effort to succeed in Afghanistan - and in our broader effort to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida – and he has my full confidence,” Obama said in a written statement issued by the White House. “The Senate’s quick action and General Petraeus’s unrivaled experience will ensure we do not miss a beat in our strategy to break the Taliban’s momentum and build Afghan capacity.”

Petraeus was serving as the commander of U.S. Central Command, and replaces Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal in Afghanistan. Centcom’s deputy commander, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John R. Allen, will serve as acting commander until a replacement for Petraeus is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

Petraeus is flying to NATO Headquarters in Belgium for meetings with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He also will address the North Atlantic Council in permanent session with ISAF contributors.

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