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Petraeus assesses Afghan situation

Gen. David Petraeus, the new chief of the U.S. Central Command who is credited with turning the tide in Iraq, took a firsthand look at the war in Afghanistan on Tuesday.

With U.S. deaths at an all-time high in Afghanistan and attacks against Westerners on the rise, Petraeus arrived on his first visit to the region since taking charge of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Petraeus will meet with Afghan leaders and top U.S. military officials, including U.S. Gen. David McKiernan, the head of the NATO-led force. He is in the country to conduct an “initial assessment,” said Col. Greg Julian, U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan.

Petraeus, who became Centcom chief on Friday, has been credited for stemming the violence in Iraq, and many expect Afghanistan will see some of the same tactics, such as co-opting local tribal leaders to resist the Taliban.

His stop in Afghanistan follows a two-day visit to neighboring Pakistan, a key U.S. ally in the war on terror.

The Pakistani government has complained bitterly about U.S. cross-border missile strikes, and on Tuesday Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani warned that the next U.S. president must halt the attacks or risk losing the war against al-Qaida and the Taliban by fueling anti-American sentiments.

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