Condition in Afghanistan deteriorating, says Mullen

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Washington, Aug. 24 (ANI): Even as Afghanistan awaits the result of its second presidential election, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, has said conditions in Afghanistan are "deteriorating," and hinted at further troop increases.

"I think it is serious and it is deteriorating and I've said that over the past couple of years that the Taliban insurgency has gotten better, more sophisticated, in their tactics," the New York Times quoted Admiral Mike Mullen, as saying on CNN's State of the Union.

Top American commanders have been making similar statements for months, but Admiral Mullen's remark came amid the election, the strategy review by General Stanley McChrystal.

Admiral Mullen said that General McChrystal was still completing his review and had not yet requested for additional troops on top of the 17,000 decided on earlier by President Barack Obama.

"His guidance from me and from the Secretary of Defence (Robert Gates) was to assess where you are and tell us what you need, and we'll get to that point," he said.

Senator John McCain, who recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan, has said that he thought the general faced heavy pressure not to seek large numbers of additional troops.

"I think there are great pressures on General McChrystal to reduce those estimates," McCain said.

"I don't think it's necessarily from the president, I think it's from the people around him and others. But I have confidence that he will make his most honest and best recommendations," he added.

Both the senator and Admiral Mullen said that they thought it important that serious signs of progress begin emerging in the next 12 to 18 months if the administration is to withstand the pressure to leave Afghanistan. (ANI)

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