Pace hopeful after trip to Mideast

April 23, 2007 at 8:38 AM

WASHINGTON, April 23 (UPI) -- The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said he sees improvement in Iraq's Anbar province and signs that the Taliban is being turned back in Afghanistan.

"It's looking hopeful," U.S. Marines Gen. Peter Pace said Monday on his way to Washington after visiting each country.

Residents of Anbar province have wearied of al-Qaida's violence and now back the Iraqi government, Pace said, emphasizing that he was impressed with the changes he saw in the region. Baghdad, he said, presents a different picture, one of terrible violence spawned by al-Qaida terrorists, Pace said in a statement released by the American Forces Press Service.

In Afghanistan, the spring offensive of the Taliban has failed due to Pakistan's cooperation along the border, NATO's increased presence and the increasing capability of the Afghan security forces, Pace said.

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