In Letter To ISAF, Gen. David Petraeus Outlines Agenda In Afghanistan : The Two-Way Petraeus affirmed his commitment to counterinsurgency tactics.
NPR logo In Letter To ISAF, Gen. David Petraeus Outlines Agenda In Afghanistan

In Letter To ISAF, Gen. David Petraeus Outlines Agenda In Afghanistan

Gen. David Petraeus, commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan. Massoud Hossani/AFP hide caption

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Massoud Hossani/AFP

In a letter to "the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Civilians of NATO's International Security Assistance Force," Gen. David Petraeus, the new commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, affirmed his commitment to "a mission of vital importance to the people of Afghanistan, to our nations, and to the world."

"Together, we can ensure that Afghanistan will not once again be ruled by those who embrace indiscriminate violence and transnational extremists, and we can ensure that Al Qaeda and other extremist elements cannot once again establish sanctuaries in Afghanistan from which they can launch attacks on our homelands and on the Afghan people," he wrote.

Petraeus, author of the U.S. Army's counterinsurgency field manual, now oversees a large-scale counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan.

"Our enemies will do all that they can to shake our confidence and the confidence of the Afghan people," Petraeus said. "In turn, we must continue to demonstrate our resolve to the enemy."

We will do so through our relentless pursuit of the Taliban and others who mean Afghanistan harm, through our compassion for the Afghan people, and through our example and the values that we live.

His predecessor, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, resigned after several ruinous quotations appeared in a Rolling Stone profile, reported by Michael Hastings. McChrystal and members of his senior staff derided their civilian counterparts, including Amb. Richard Holbrooke, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Paksitan.

In the letter, Petraeus stressed the importance of cooperation:

"This endeavor has to be a team effort," he wrote. "We must strive to contribute to the 'Team of Teams' at work in Afghanistan and to achieve unity of effort with our diplomatic, international civilian, and Afghan partners as we carry out a comprehensive, civil-military counterinsurgency campaign."

At the bottom of the letter, next to his valediction and signature, Petraeus wrote this handwritten addendum: "It is a privilege to serve with you."