Pakistan has a new army chief

Pakistan on Wednesday named a new army chief, a job seen as the most powerful position in the troubled nuclear-armed nation which has seen three periods of military rule.

General Raheel Sharif will take over as head of the 600,000-strong army from General Ashfaq Kayani, who is retiring after six years at the helm.

The change of command comes with the country facing a daunting array of challenges – a homegrown Taliban insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives, vexed relations with India and the winding-down of the 12-year NATO mission in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Sharif, whose elder brother won Pakistan’s highest military award for valour in the 1971 war with India, will formally take command on Thursday.

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