The Pentagon is knocking down reports that David Petraeus is expected to immediately leave his post as commander of United States troops in Afghanistan while also noting that he would not stay forever.
Earlier Tuesday evening the Times of London reported that Petraeus would leave and the headline appeared to suggest that his departure was imminent.“Despite some sensational speculation by one of the London papers, I can assure you General Petraeus is not quitting as ISAF commander, but nor does he plan to stay in Afghanistan forever,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said in a statement. “Obviously he will rotate out at some point, but that point has not yet been determined and it will not occur anytime soon. Until then, he will continue to ably lead our coalition forces in Afghanistan.”
Earlier in the day, the Washington Post reported that Petraeus, who took command last July, will rotate out of Afghanistan before the end of the year.
Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, said he had not heard anything about Petraeus leaving and would be “totally floored” if it were true.
“I was just there [in Afghanistan] a couple of weeks ago,” McKeon said in a brief interview with TPM. “He’s doing a fantastic job there.”
As of Tuesday evening, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), the ranking member of the House Armed Services panel, also had not heard anything about Petraeus stepping down.
President Obama chose Petraeus to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal after Rolling Stone published derogatory comments McChrystal had made about the Obama administration.