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President Bush has nominated Army Gen. David D. McKiernan for assignment as commander, International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan.

McKiernan has served as the ISAF commander since May. Over the past year, the Taliban has experienced a resurgence in many parts of the country, with heavy fighting reported amid civilian casualties.

On Tuesday, Bush announced that, as troops slowly are pulled out of Iraq, more U.S. servicemembers would be sent to Afghanistan in the coming months. Also this week, McKiernan ordered the reopening of the investigation into an Aug. 22 attack in Herat province that killed between five and 90 civilians.

In an interview with Stars and Stripes before he left for Afghanistan from Heidelberg, Germany — where he served as commander of U.S. Army Europe — McKiernan said, "I feel good about the opportunity to get back in the fight. I feel it’s my turn. I can’t ask soldiers and families to be strong during repeated deployments if I’m not willing to do the same thing."

McKiernan took command of the NATO-led force of some 47,000 troops from 40 countries as concerns for the effort there have spiked, along with suicide bombings and roadside bombs. At the time, he said he had agreed to spend up to two years in Afghanistan.

When he was appointed to the ISAF position, McKiernan told Congress that he needed more combat and aviation forces, greater intelligence and surveillance capability and more training teams. McKiernan also has discussed his desire for reducing NATO nations’ caveats, which keep many of those forces from combat roles and leaves most of the fighting to the U.S., Canada, Britain and the Dutch.

"Those caveats … to a large degree reflect political will," he said in May. "If you have caveats, in most cases, there’s a domestic issue with popular or political support."

In 2003, McKiernan commanded the ground invasion of Iraq.

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