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Lawmakers want more answers on Afghan war plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of a key Senate panel pledged on Friday to hold more hearings on the U.S. goals for the war in Afghanistan after senators from both parties said they wanted answers in the wake of this week's shake-up in command for the mission.

"To date, all responses to this question have been vague and lacked clarity," seven members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said in a letter to Chairman John Kerry.

The request comes after President Barack Obama fired General Stanley McChrystal as top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan and replaced him with General David Petraeus.

The senators included Democrat and former Navy Secretary Jim Webb, Democrat Russell Feingold, and Republicans Bob Corker, Johnny Isakson, James Risch, Jim DeMint and Roger Wicker.

The senators said they wanted "a definition of the end state for our operations in Afghanistan, clear objectives for the civilian mission, a detailed plan for achieving those objectives and the very specific, measurable metrics being used to measure progress."

Kerry had already promised to hold more hearings on the war, and told the senators on Friday he would hold the hearings during the second week of July, when Congress returns from the July 4 recess.

The senators had asked to hear next week from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry.

Petraeus will face a confirmation hearing on Tuesday with the Senate Armed Services Committee.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell and Roberta Rampton, editing by Stacey Joyce)

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