Washington, Mar 14 (ANI): The commander of the U.S. Central Command has said that an Iraq-style increase in troops cannot be a solution to the problems in Afghanistan.
Speaking before about 800 people at an event sponsored by the World Affairs Council, General David Petraeus acknowledged that the situation in Afghanistan has been spiraling downward and is likely to get worse before it gets better.
Petraeus said more resources are needed in Afghanistan, both military and especially civil to help build a stable government there.
"The Secretary of Defense and I are among the biggest champions with members of Congress for increasing the resource for the State Department and the Agency for International Development," FOX News quoted him, as saying.
The US-led invasion of Afghanistan ousted the Islamist Taliban regime in 2001, but the militant movement has regained control of large swaths of the country. US and NATO forces have been unable to reverse the gains.
Petraeus blamed the problems on a resilient "syndicate of extremists," financing from the drug trade, safe havens in Pakistan and frustration with the slow development of the country's fledgling government.
"We must help our Afghan partners create the breathing space that'll allow the people to stand up for themselves as the Iraqi people did during the awakening movements there," he said.
"That also will allow the government to begin working for its people and begin providing essential services, instead of just struggling to survive," he added.
Last month, President Barack Obama ordered 17,000 more US troops to bolster the record 38,000 American forces already in Afghanistan, a likely down payment on the request by ground commanders to double the US force to 60,000. (ANI)