London, Aug 25 (ANI): General James Conway, head of the US Marine Corps has said that President Barack Obama's July 2011 deadline to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is giving the Taliban "sustenance", and that the U.S. forces in southern Afghanistan will have to stay in place for several more years.
Gen Conway expressed his concerned over the date saying this might signal to the Taliban that the US is preparing to wind down the war.
"In some ways we think right now it's probably giving our enemy sustenance. We think that he may be saying to himself, in fact we've intercepted communications that say, 'Hey, we only have to hold out for so long,'" The BBC quoted him, as saying.
He also warned that US forces in southern Afghanistan would likely have to stay in place for several years.
"I honestly think it will be a few years before conditions on the ground are such that turnover will be possible for us," he added.
Obama and his supporters, however, have defended the deadline as a way of pushing Afghan leaders to act quickly to take charge of their security.
Conway insisted that the Taliban foot soldiers would likely suffer a blow to their morale after July 2011 passes with no dramatic departure of American forces, and added "come the fall we're still there hammering them like we have been". (ANI)