Washington: The US Senate has unanimously confirmed General David Petraeus, commander of the American forces in Afghanistan, as the new Director of Central Intelligence Agency.

He would succeed Leon Panetta who on Friday would be sworn in as the Defence Secretary. Lawmakers voted 94-0 in favour of Petraeus.

A veteran of more than 37 years, Petraeus (58) would retire from US Army before joining CIA. He would, however, remain in Afghanistan for some time to oversee the start of the withdrawal of US troops from the war-ravaged country.

"General David Petraeus is one of this country's finest public servants, and will retire from the United States military with a far-reaching and unparalleled legacy. This man could leave public service to make millions working in the business community, but he walked away from that money because he thinks he has more to give his country. That dedication is the true epitome of patriotism," Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, said after Petraeus' confirmation.

Senator Joe Lieberman said: "The overwhelming Senate vote confirming David Petraeus as the next Director of the CIA reflects the universal and bipartisan respect and admiration
that General Petraeus commands in the Senate and among the American people -- Democrats, Republicans, and Independents."

In a statement, Republican Senator John Cornyn, said few Americans have contributed more to the global war on terror than Petraeus.  "As the battlefield commander in Iraq, he turned the tide against the enemy during the darkest days there and through his service in Afghanistan, he has continued to earn the trust of the American people and members of Congress."

Senator Diane Feinstein, chairwoman of the States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, in her reaction said: "I think that there is no doubt but that Gen Petraeus is among the finest military officers and strategic thinkers of his generation."

While, Senator Mark Begich, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, praising the new CIA director said, "General Petraeus is more than qualified to head the CIA, spending the better part of the last decade in a leader's role combating terrorism and conducting counterinsurgency operations overseas."

Agencies