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Top US Commander Steps down in Kabul

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TEHRAN, July 18 (ICANA) – US General David Petraeus has stepped down as the top commander of the US-led international forces in Afghanistan after holding the position for one year.
Monday, July 18, 2011 9:21:14 PM
Top US Commander Steps down in Kabul

Petraeus handed over the command to Marine Lt. Gen. John Allen at a change of command ceremony in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Monday morning, AFP reported.

Petraeus will take charge of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in September.

The handover comes after the assassinations of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's top allies in the south -- his brother and a top adviser.

Karzai's senior adviser Jan Mohammad Khan, the former governor of southern Uruzgan province, was killed in a raid on his Kabul home on Sunday.

The assassination came days after the president's half-brother Ahmed Wali Karzai was shot dead by his own head of security at his home in the southern province of Kandahar.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for both of the killings.

Petraeus took over in Afghanistan on July 4 last year after Gen. Stanley McChrystal resigned over scathing remarks made to Rolling Stone magazine about the White House administration.

Violence has been at its worst since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The security situation remains fragile despite the presence of about 150,000 US-led foreign forces in the Asian country.

The United Nations reported last week that 1,462 civilians died in the first six months of 2011, marked by an increase of 15 percent, putting this year on track to be the deadliest in a decade.

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