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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

NATO 'not winning war' in Afghanistan

Tue, 10 Mar 2009 08:28:01 GMT | PressTV

US Vice President
Joe Biden (r) with
Gen. David McKiernan
A senior US commander says NATO is not winning the war against the Taliban in the troubled southern and eastern areas of Afghanistan.

"But there are other areas - large areas in the southern part of Afghanistan especially, but in parts of the east - where we are not winning," Gen. David McKiernan, the head of the NATO-led ISAF mission in Afghanistan, said in an interview on Monday.

McKiernan's remarks come a day after President Barack Obama said America was not winning in Afghanistan. President Obama has also opened the door to talks with 'moderate elements' of the Taliban.

Greater US involvement in Afghanistan is a political risk for Obama with the danger that mounting American casualties could make the war as unpopular as Iraq.

Commanders have described the situation in southern areas of Helmand Province, where British troops have been fighting for nearly three years as "a stalemate".

Thinly-stretched British forces hold of string of district centers, but much of the countryside remains too dangerous for government officials or aid workers.

Despite the presence of more than 70,000 US-led foreign troops in Afghanistan, the insurgency has surged in the war-torn country. Some 5,400 people, among them many civilians, lost their lives in 2008 in Taliban- and al-Qaeda-linked violence.

The US military operation 'Enduring Freedom' was launched by the Pentagon forces with Britain and other Western countries in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The stated purpose of the invasion was to destroy al-Qaeda and Taliban, capture Osama bin Laden and bring security to the volatile region.

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