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Convince people, don't kill them: New US commander in Afghan

world Updated: Jun 12, 2009 14:45 IST

Indicating a change in approach in the war against terrorism, a top American army official named head of US and international forces in Afghanistan on Friday said it is important to "convince people" and not kill them.

In his first interview after being named US commander in Afghanistan, as in his confirmation hearing in the Congress, General Stanley McChrystal indicated that even being head of armed forces, his emphasis would be on winning the hearts and minds of the people of country by means other than that of bullets and bombs.

McChrystal is landing in Afghanistan at a time when there is greater resentment against the US forces both in Afghanistan and the border areas in Pakistan about the increasing civilian casualties - a point which has been raised time and again by President Hamid Karzai.

In an interview to The Wall Street Journal, McChrystal said he believes that to win the war in Afghanistan, "You're going to have to convince people, not kill them.

"Since 9/11, I have watched as America tried to first put out this fire with a hammer, and it doesn't work," he was quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates has given him 60 days to come out with a plan to win the war in Afghanistan.

McChrystal was confirmed unanimously by the Senate on Wednesday and is now headed towards Afghanistan.