Army Gen. David McKiernan will be replaced by a special operations veteran Army Lt Gen. Stanley McChrystal to lead the US forces in Afghanistan.

McChrystal will be assisted by a new deputy commander, Army Lt Gen. David Rodriguez to confront the eight-year-old conflict in Afghanistan.

The decision was jointly taken by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, chairman of the joint chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen and US Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus.

Though no specific reasons were mentioned for the replacement, Gates and Mullen said that new leadership, new approaches and fresh eyes were needed to improve the situation in the war-torn Afghanistan.