Gen. David Petraeus has formally assumed command of the 130,000-strong international force in Afghanistan.
At NATO headquarters in Kabul, Petraeus said it was important to demonstrate to the Afghan people and world that al-Qaida and its extremist allies will not be allowed to again establish sanctuaries in Afghanistan from which they could launch attacks on the U.S. and other countries.
Petraeus received two flags – one for the U.S. and the other for NATO – during a ceremony attended by several hundred NATO and Afghan officials at a grassy area just outside coalition headquarters.
Petraeus succeeds Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was fired last month for intemperate remarks he and his aides made to Rolling Stone magazine about Obama administration officials. On Saturday, Petraeus was at the U.S. Embassy saying that cooperation between civilian and military efforts in Afghanistan “is not optional.”