NATO commanders, officers in Afghanistan battle weary

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Washington, June 21 (ANI): A senior military intelligence official who has served in Afghanistan and participates in daily briefings on the war has told The Washington Times that there is a "weariness" among officers as the war nears its ninth year in October.

"We are a battle-hardened force, but eight years now in Afghanistan has worn us down," said the officer, who asked not to be named because he holds a sensitive intelligence job.

A surge of some 30,000 troops is being carried out and a battle to wrest control of southern Afghanistan from the Taliban is about to begin.

According to the officer, commanders still have not found the key to shifting the loyalties of Pashtun tribal leaders away from the rigidly Islamic Taliban and toward the democratic government of President Hamid Karzai.

"We're fighting a cultural battle we have yet to come to grips with," the official said.

"We don't get the Pashtun mindset. We can't figure out how to work through the system of corruption," he added.

The pessimism comes amid a recent increase in U.S. casualties as summer fighting between Taliban and allied forces increases.

A United Nations quarterly report made public on Saturday stated that security declined in the first four months of the year as the number of roadside bombings and other attacks rose sharply.

Since the war began in October 2001, a total of 1,036 troops have been killed. (ANI)

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