Confident about diplomatic team for Afghanistan: Hillary

Hillary Clinton has full confidence in her diplomatic team in Afghanistan.

Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has full confidence in diplomats carrying out administration policy in Afghanistan, including special envoy Richard Holbrooke, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Some lawmakers urged President Barack Obama to follow the sacking of his commander in the Afghan war, General Stanley McChrystal, with a shake-up of the diplomatic team, amid strained military-civilian relations.

"The secretary has full confidence in her team in Afghanistan as well as in Ambassador Holbrooke and his team here," Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, said when asked about calls for the shake-up.

"And as the President put it very clearly yesterday, now is the time to move forward and get on with the job at hand," Toner said.

A day after McChrystal stepped down, some lawmakers and commentators argued for the replacement of US civilian envoys, saying it would boost ties with the Afghan government and end damaging in-fighting within the administration.

McChrystal`s disdainful remarks to a magazine about Holbrooke, and the US ambassador to Kabul, Karl Eikenberry, led to his abrupt exit, but also revealed signs of toxic ties between the commander and his civilian counterparts.

"The civilian side is, in my view, completely dysfunctional," Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said.

"I would urge the President to look at this as a chance to put new people on the ground without old baggage. And if we don`t change quickly, we`re going to lose a war we can`t afford to lose," he said.

Graham was one of three hawkish senators who quickly demanded a clean sweep, saying too much was at stake to allow turf wars to drag on.

PTI

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