Gen. Petraeus Steps Down
He's off to CIA following troubling assassinations
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jul 18, 2011 4:22 AM CDT
The outgoing US and NATO led International Security Assistance Force commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus claps as he welcomes his replacement, US Gen. John Allen.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
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(Newser) – Gen. David Petraeus has stepped down as commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan as he prepares to take over the CIA, leaving a bit of a mess behind. He turned the reins over to US Gen. John Allen in a Kabul ceremony the day after a top aide to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai was shot dead in his home, and just days after Karzai's brother was killed in his house by a family bodyguard, notes the BBC.

Petraeus expressed a "profound and lasting" gratitude to Afghan and coalition forces. "You have shown enemies of Afghanistan that you are willing and able to resist a campaign of violence and intimidation," he added in remarks aimed at the Afghanistan people. Allen, who made a reputation in Iraq forging alliances with Sunni leaders, warned of "tough times" ahead. "I have no illusions about the challenges we will face," he added.