Americans approve of Gen. David Petraeus as the new US commander in Afghanistan. But after nine years and with mounting US casualties, support for the war itself is waning.
General Petraeus takes over a counterinsurgency strategy that has largely failed, say Afghanistan lawmakers from Taliban hot spots Marjah and Kandahar, which have been targeted for key US offensives.
Given all the hurdles to a successful counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, it is not too early for Petraeus and Washington to begin thinking about Plan B.
Topping General Petraeus' to-do list in the Afghanistan war: Making his own counterinsurgency strategy work in Afghanistan where General McChrystal could not.
After replacing Gen. Stanley McChrystal with Gen. David Petraeus in Afghanistan, President Obama can use this opportunity to explain his current thinking about the trade-off between containing the war's costs and his goal of leaving no safe-haven for al Qaeda.
While the strategy remains the same, will the deft touch of General Petraeus reorient key relationships among leaders in Afghanistan?
Gen. David Petraeus is likely to win Senate confirmation as the top US commander in Afghanistan. But the hearing could reopen a debate on strategy, especially the 2011 planned troop drawdown.
Gen. David Petraeus, who replaced ousted Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is a widely respected officer who wrote the Army's counterinsurgency manual and helped craft US policy in Afghanistan.
People stand around a campfire during the Ivana Kupala festival in the village of Viazynka, Belarus, late Tuesday evening. The ancient tradition, originating from pagan times, is usually marked with grand overnight festivities which includes jumping over burning campfires and bathing in a lake or a river. Some people believe the acts will purge them of their sins and make them healthier.
Facing a challenge to his leadership and to civilian control of the military, President Obama replaced Gen. Stanley McChrystal with Gen. David Petraeus as top commander in Afghanistan.