NATO forces close to victory in Afghanistan: Gen. Petraeus

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Ottawa, Mar. 5 (ANI): General David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, has stated that Canada's decision to pull out troops from Afghanistan has come at a time when the NATO forces are heading toward a decisive victory against the Taliban.

"Having worked hard this past year to get the inputs right ... now [the International Security Assistance Force] and its Afghan partners can start to see the progress that is possible," the Globe and Mail quoted him, as saying.

While Gen. Petraeus declined to comment on the effect that Canada's 2011 exit from Kandahar next year will have on NATO's broader mission in Afghanistan, he admitted: "Obviously, we always like to see everyone continue to pitch in."

Gen. Petraeus, who oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, predicted that NATO will "regain the initiative from the insurgency" by following a counterinsurgency strategy similar to the one he followed as a commanding general in Iraq.

"We all recognize that an enormous amount of hard work and tough fighting lie ahead. As was the case in Iraq, the reality in Afghanistan is that everything is hard and it is hard all the time," he said.

Protecting civilians and helping Afghan security forces pave the way for Afghan governance are more important to the mission than killing or capturing the enemy, he argued.

"You don't kill or capture your way out of an insurgency," Gen. Petraeus pointed out.

"What we learned from Marjah was it's okay to announce that you're coming if you don't want to get into a slugfest right in the city you are trying to save," he added.

"That means some of the bad guys are going to get out the back door. That's okay, because we'll track them down. The objective is to secure the population." (ANI)

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