Brad Norington, Washington correspondent | August 11
General Stanley McChrystal warned yesterday that US casualties, already at record levels, would remain high for many months.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal from Kabul, General McChrystal said the Taliban's strength had grown as they moved beyond traditional areas in southern Afghanistan to threaten formerly stable regions in the north and west.
The commander's comments indicate a surge in US troop numbers, expected to increase from 31,000 to 68,000 by later this year, has not made progress so far.
Just hours after the interview appeared, Taliban militants launched a major attack on a provincial government and police headquarters near the capital Kabul -- 10 days before nationwide elections.
General McChrystal said the Taliban were inflicting significant casualties with sophisticated attacks that combined roadside bombs with ambushes by small teams of heavily armed militants.
The assessment is a preview of a strategic assessment General McChrystal is expected to provide Washington later this month, which follows a revised military policy of protecting the local populations ahead of hunting down insurgents.
The general's assessment coincides with a report that 50 Afghan drug traffickers with links to the Taliban have been placed on a Pentagon hit list to be captured or killed.
According to a study to be released by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week, US military commanders have told congressional leaders they believe the policy is legal under the military's rules of engagement and international law. Read more here...
Source: The Australian