Afghanistan not In danger of falling to Taliban, says Obama's NSA

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Washington, Oct.5 (ANI): Afghanistan is not in imminent danger of falling to the Taliban, President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Lt. Gen. James Jones said Sunday as he downplayed worries that the insurgency could set up a renewed sanctuary for Al Qaeda.

Retired Gen. James Jones made the comments after eight U.S. soldiers were killed near the Pakistan border and as many as seven Afghan forces in one of the fiercest battles of the eight-year war, Fox News reports.

Jones said President Hamid Karzai's government must improve and give hope to the people of Afghanistan. He added that he believes the government has a chance to succeed, with the aid of a strong effort by the U.S. to train the Afghan army and police.

"I don't foresee the return of the Taliban. Afghanistan is not in imminent danger of falling," Jones said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"The Al Qaeda presence is very diminished," he said. "The maximum estimate is less than 100 operating in the country, no bases, no ability to launch attacks on either us or our allies," he added.

Jones' view differs from that of the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal has called for an infusion of thousands more U.S. troops, saying that insurgents are gaining strength in Afghanistan and that the U.S. is in danger of failing if more forces are not sent to the fight.

Senators appearing on "FOX News Sunday" were divided on whether to send more troops.

Senior US administration officials have also told Fox News that President Barack Obama may not be able to meet the January 2010 deadline of completing the lengthy review of Guantanamo Bay detainee files and resolving other tough questions.

Jones said administration officials are hard at work on it but acknowledged that meeting Obama's deadline to close the facility by January 22 is proving harder than officials first thought.

Jones says it's clear that Guantanamo must close-because of the symbol it's come to represent.

Jones says Obama has made a commitment to close it and the adviser says he still hopes the administration can meet that deadline. (ANI)

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