WASHINGTON — The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan was fighting for his job Tuesday after being summoned to Washington to explain a magazine profile that included derogatory comments about President Barack Obama and his colleagues.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Gen. Stanley McChrystal's comments were "distractions" to the war in Afghanistan.
McChrystal, who publicly apologized Tuesday for using "poor judgment" in an interview in Rolling Stone magazine, has been ordered to appear at the White House Wednesday, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
He'll be expected to explain his comments in the magazine's profile, titled "The Runaway General," to the president and top Pentagon officials, officials said.
A top military official in Afghanistan told The Associated Press that McChrystal hasn't been told whether he will be allowed to keep his job. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions between Washington and the general's office in Kabul.
McChrystal spent Tuesday calling several of those mentioned in the article to apologize, officials said, including Gates and Richard Holbrooke, U.S. special envoy to Pakistan.
Gates issued a statement saying McChrystal made "a significant mistake" and used poor judgment in his remarks to a magazine reporter.
"We are fighting a war against al-Qaeda and its extremist allies, who directly threaten the United States, Afghanistan, and our friends and allies around the world," Gates said. "Going forward, we must pursue this mission with a unity of purpose. Our troops and coalition partners are making extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our security, and our singular focus must be on supporting them and succeeding in Afghanistan without such distractions."
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
WASHINGTON (AP) – A senior U.S. military official in Afghanistan tells The Associated Press that Gen. Stanley McChrystal doesn't know whether he'll keep his job when he appears at the White House on Wednesday.
The official says the general has been given no indication that he'll be fired – but no assurance he won't be.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions between Washington and the general's office in Kabul.
McChrystal has apologized for a Rolling Stone magazine profile this week in which aides mock other administration officials. Obama summoned the general to Washington to explain the remarks.