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As Petraeus exits, US interests in Afghanistan far from secured

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Sang Tan/AP

(Read caption) In a March 23 photo, US General David Petraeus, Commander of NATO International Security Assistance Force and US Forces Afghanistan, addresses Royal United Service Institute members on 'The Mission in Afghanistan' in London.

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General David Petraeus is leaving the field of battle.

He's seen in some circles as having turned around the Iraq war, and was brought in to shore up the flagging NATO effort in Afghanistan last July. Now he is leaving to become chief of the CIA at a time when the theory of warfare he's put into practice in Afghanistan is coming under heavy strain from insurgents and an Afghanistan that grows ever more weary of foreign troops. The task his replacement will take up is looking as difficult as ever.

On the very afternoon that his departure for Washington was confirmed, horrifying scenes were unfolding in Kabul. There, eight US soldiers and one American contractor were gunned down by an Afghan Air Force officer in the military portion of the airport. The New York Times quoted an Afghan officer at the scene that other NATO soldiers leaped from second and third story windows to escape the killer.

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