International troops in Afghanistan have a new commander to lead the fight against an increasingly violent Taliban insurgency.
U.S. General Stanley McChrystal officially took command of U.S. and NATO soldiers on Monday in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
At a small ceremony, the four-star general said Afghan civilians are at the center of the mission.
He pledged to focus on minimizing civilian deaths in the fight against
the Taliban. But he also said that international soldiers "will not be
timid" toward their enemies.
Civilian casualties caused by counter-insurgency operations have
created distrust between the Afghan people and foreign troops who have
been in their country for nearly eight years.
The Obama administration has called for U.S. and NATO forces to change the way they relate to the Afghan people.
McChrystal met Afghan President Hamid Karzai for the first time in Kabul on Sunday.
The general is taking his post as Afghanistan prepares for a
presidential election, in which Mr. Karzai is running to keep his post.
The August vote will be the country's second presidential election
since the overthrow of the Taliban, who are promising even more
violence to disrupt the polls.