"I absolutely reject that idea, I don't believe it. It is true that there are many places in this country that don't have an adequate level of security. We don't have progress as even and as fast as any of us would like. But we are not losing in Afghanistan," the New York Times quoted McKiernan as saying at a news conference in Kabul. There are major challenges facing the war effort, he said and added 'But we will win.'
The news conference was held on the general's return from Washington, where he participated in a wide-ranging review of war strategy in Afghanistan.
His comments came less than 12 hours after NATO troops in Afghanistan defeated an ambitious attempt by the Taliban to storm a provincial capital in the far southwest killing dozens of the fighters, said the paper.
McKiernan leads more than 65,000 troops from about 40 foreign countries, including 33,000 Americans.
Earlier, the NATO command confirmed that its forces battled several hundred Taliban fighters at nightfall on Saturday as they prepared to attack Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, the center of Afghanistan's opium trade and one of the most heavily contested battlefields of the war.
A statement by the 'International Security Assistance Force', the official name of the NATO operation commanded by General McKiernan, said it had attacked the Taliban fighters at 7:30 pm on Saturday, Oct 11, when the Taliban were preparing to launch a mortar attack on the city.
McKiernan said that fighting had continued until daybreak on Sunday, Oct 12, and that 'a large number of Taliban' had been killed.