US & Canada

McChrystal fired: Reaction from Afghanistan and beyond

US President Barack Obama's sacking of his top commander in Afghanistan, Gen Stanley McChrystal, has been making headlines around the world.

The general was dismissed after criticising leading administration officials in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

Here BBC Monitoring rounds up comment on the affair from a number of key areas outside the United States: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and China.


Some commentators focus less on the detail of Gen McChrystal's insubordination and more on how his departure will affect the US and Nato mission. They also reflect on the soldier's standing among ordinary Afghans.

Rah-e Nejat (private daily): "There is no doubt that Gen McChrystal is the most competent American general appointed to lead the Afghan war after his successful mission in the Middle East... He had well realised that the Afghan crisis does not have a military solution and more attention should be paid to the cultural, social, economic and political aspects of the war... What one can consider in the calculations is that the resignation of McChrystal will deal a huge blow to the USA and its western allies in the current situation."

Hewad (state-run daily): "Barack Obama has made clear his decision and said he has dismissed Gen McChrystal and instead appointed Gen David Petraeus. This decision was both surprising and worrying... McChrystal fortunately emerged as an initiative general and commander in Afghanistan. He was the first American commander who worked out a clear strategy for Afghanistan."

Arman-e Melli (daily, close to journalists' union): "Although President Hamed Karzai has lately adopted a harsh anti-American stance and the relations between the Afghan and US government no longer have the past warmness, Karzai's family has not remained silent after American officials summoned Gen McChrystal. Hamed Karzai and his brother requested the USA to let McChrystal continue his work in Afghanistan. Because, some experts say, McChrystal was not criticising corruption in the Karzai government..."

Voice of Jihad website (quoting Taleban's Qari Yusof Ahmadi): "His removal is the logical conclusion of the war in Afghanistan. Anyone who is appointed to this post will face the same fate because the Afghanistan land and nation will never allow a foreigner to succeed. Throughout history, people stronger than McChrystal and more experienced than Obama have been brought to their knees in Afghanistan. That is why Afghanistan is today called the graveyard of invaders."

Mandegar (private daily): "After McChrystal was summoned from Kabul to Washington for his remarks described as insulting to American officials, Karzai was the first person asking Barack Obama not to dismiss McChrystal. One day later... a number of officials of Karzai's government also supported McChrystal in a press conference and asked the USA to send him back to Afghanistan... But the question is will the US war programme change with the removal of McChrystal?"


Editorials assess both the tenor of Gen McChrystal's remarks, and what his sacking says about the credibility of the US-led mission in Afghanistan.

Dawn: "Perhaps [Gen McChrystal] is getting increasingly frustrated prosecuting a war with no definite end in sight... The general's remarks raise some worrying concerns though. Are the field commanders and the administration in Washington on the same page vis-a-vis the fight against the Afghan Taleban? If they are not, can Nato forces ever be successful in quelling the insurgency? is clear that the Afghan war is becoming more difficult by the day and blunders at this stage will not help."

The Frontier Post: "The whole episode brings out poignantly the confusion and chaos that pervades the American administration in regard to its Afghanistan project. What was expected to pull out a miracle and pacify a deeply troubled Afghanistan in just 18 months is turning out starkly a spectacular damp squib, showing not even a ray of hope... If [the US] gets further stuck up in the Afghanistan quagmire, it will find it impossible to get out of it unscathed and without being badly mauled."

The News: "Unacceptable behaviour in terms of respect for the chain of command. This was no storm in a teacup; but an event which may influence both the direction and the outcome of the war in Afghanistan... In strategic terms there will be a 'blip' but little in the way of change in the way that the McChrystal strategy is carried out... But this cannot hide the reality that it is a blow to American credibility as the leading military force operating in Afghanistan."

Daily Times: "It is no secret that the parameters set by Washington to win the war in Afghanistan are not to McChrystal's liking. Last fall, McChrystal asked for a hefty troop surge as his war strategy is based on the military weakening of the Taliban, paving the way for a political negotiation/settlement - a lengthy and tedious process... It is because of these policy collisions that McChrystal states he was 'selling an unsellable position'. However, for all his efforts at effective counter-insurgency, the war in Afghanistan has surpassed the Vietnam War in length and is a war that McChrystal himself has referred to as a 'bleeding ulcer'."

Pakistan Observer: "The 'painful' remarks are indicative of not only innermost feelings of the man leading the battle in Afghanistan but also bring forth the serious differences of policy and approach. We believe that the remarks of the general should not be seen in isolation but in the perspective of the ongoing war on terror, which has shattered minds and souls of not only those directly involved in fighting but also American general public opinion. These unusual comments by a top military leader show that there was no smooth sailing and under-currents could make a difference in times to come."


Commentators notably flag up perceived tensions over Afghanistan in the Obama administration, and in the US as a whole.

Resalat [Conservative]: "Undoubtedly, this resignation is another blow to the credibility of Obama, whom many of Americans regard inefficient. According to a survey, more than 50% of American citizens are opposed to Obama and his performance on the foreign policy front, especially what is happening in Afghanistan."

Iran [hard-line]: "McChrystal's statements and White House's reaction point to acute tension between the military and civilian authorities of the US… In fact, the genesis of the disagreement lies in the fact that the US army has become politicised, while the non-military part of the government considers itself more rightful in administering the war."


Measured responses to the strategic impact of the news from several Chinese sources.

People's Daily (Chinese Communist Party paper): "The US's new strategy in Afghanistan of sending more troops and protecting civilians in order to win popular support and other measures have attained 'visible' progress this year. As the main architect and implementer of the new strategy, McChrystal's withdrawal from the battlefield in Afghanistan at this time may increase the US's difficulty in stabilising the situation in Afghanistan."

China Radio International: "Since McChrystal's resignation, the continuity of US policy on Afghanistan has been a focus of attention... There is no doubt that the US's battlefront in Afghanistan may shrink after [Gen David] Petraeus takes over as the top US commander in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Petraeus's cooperation with the Afghan government will inevitably require a wearing-in period. During this period, the effectiveness of cooperation between both sides may be affected because of differences of opinion..."

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