Petraeus: Afghanistan will take longer than Iraq





The new American-led surge in Afghanistan will take longer to fight the insurgency than a similar injection of force in Iraq three years ago when violence fell sharply within months, the top US general in the region told The Times.

General David Petraeus, the head of Central Command, also warned that the fight in Helmand province, Afghanistan, where British and US forces are based, as well other areas, would become even tougher before the situation improved.

Frontline offensives will run alongside initiatives to reach out to Taleban elements. When the time was right, General Petraeus said, there was a possibility that Afghan officials would hold reconciliation talks with senior Taleban and other insurgent leaders, perhaps also involving Pakistan.

In 2005, the commander predicted that Afghanistan would be the longest campaign in the war on terror. “That turned out to be fairly prophetic,” he said, speaking at his headquarters in Tampa, Florida.



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