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The greatest fallout from the McChrystal controversy is the perception it creates in the minds of Afghan citizens, said Nader Nadery, deputy director of the Human Rights Commission in Kabul. He fears it will convince Afghans that the NATO mission is not led by a united team of professionals but by a U.S. team seemingly at war with itself.

“It is certainly not helpful,” he said. “The Taliban will create the perception among people, saying: ‘Look, they are not going to win. They are all in disagreement.’”

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Associated Press writers Kathy Gannon in Islamabad, Raphael Satter in London and Rahim Faiez, Heidi Vogt and Robert H. Reid in Kabul contributed to this report.