General: Afghanistan progress 'impressive'

Jan. 25, 2011 at 5:45 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. Gen. David Petraeus Tuesday wrote a letter to troops in Afghanistan, telling them hard work will continue the "impressive" progress in the war.

Petraeus, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, said U.S. service members and their Afghan counterparts "did tremendous work in 2010" toward furthering the goal of denying al-Qaida safe haven, the Defense Department said.

"A comprehensive civil-military campaign" to help Afghanistan develop the tools necessary to secure and govern the country is needed to advance U.S. interests in the region, Petraeus said.

"The beginning of Afghan-led reintegration of reconcilable insurgents and the relentless pace of targeted operations by ISAF and Afghan special operations forces" also contributed to the country's security, Petraeus wrote.

"Now, in fact, the insurgents increasingly are responding to our operations, rather than vice-versa, and there are numerous reports of unprecedented discord among the Quetta Shura, the Taliban senior leadership body," Petraeus noted.

"Our successes entailed hard fighting, tough losses and periodic setbacks. ... You had to transition from intense combat to complex stability operations -- and back again -- on innumerable occasions, sometimes on the same day. Your versatility, skill, determination and courage have truly been the stuff of history."

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