Gen. David Petraeus formally assumed command of the 130,000-strong international force in Afghanistan today, declaring "we are in this to win" despite rising casualties and growing skepticism about the nearly 9-year-old war. "We have arrived at a critical moment," he told a crowd of hundreds, also acknowledging the "enormous contributions of my predecessor."
Petraeus said the change in command did not signal a radical shift in Stanley McChrystal's strategy of prioritizing the protection of the Afghan people, but he said he would examine the policies "to determine where refinements might be needed." In a message to his troops, Petraeus said he would "not hesitate to bring all assets to bear to protect you and the Afghan forces with which you are fighting shoulder to shoulder." Later, Petraeus met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and addressed corruption, among other issues. Petraeus told Karzai he would emphasize "unity, accountability and transparency."