General Stanley McChrystal, who US President Barack Obama fired last week as the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, has informed the US Army he plans to retire, an official said. McChrystal, 55, had been widely expected to retire after he and his aides enraged the White House by disparaging the president and other top civilian advisers in an article for Rolling Stone magazine. He was fired on Wednesday.
Mr Obama said Gen McChrystal's dismissal was needed to safeguard the unity of the war effort. "McChrystal informed the Army today that he intends to retire," an Army spokesman said. McChrystal has yet to submit formal paperwork so it is unclear when his retirement will take effect, he added. Mr Obama has tapped General David Petraeus, Gen McChrystal's boss and the architect of the Iraq war turnaround, to take over the troubled Afghan command. A Senate hearing on Gen Petraeus's nomination is scheduled for today.
Aides have described the president as furious about Gen McChrystal's contemptuous remarks in the article, entitled "The Runaway General". In the piece, Gen McChrystal himself made belittling remarks about the vice president Joe Biden and the US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke. His aides were quoted as calling national security adviser Jim Jones a "clown" and saying Mr Obama seemed intimidated and disengaged at an early meeting with Gen McChrystal.