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U.S. General David Petraeus, who has overall control of troops in Afghanistan, has warned that the Taliban is “without question” strengthening its grip on the country. [cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/09/18/afghanistan.italy.troops/art.italy.afghan.jpg caption="A recent car bomb targeting allied troops killed six Italian soldiers in Kabul."]
In a speech in London Thursday - just hours after a new deadly car bombing targeted coalition forces in Kabul - Petraeus insisted the coalition “mission was still do-able” but “the stakes are high.”
Petraeus, the architect of the “surge” strategy credited with halting spiraling violence in Iraq, warned that the West needed to be steadfast in its commitment to Afghanistan if results were to be achieved.
The U.S. general’s comments came as Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said it would be “best” for his country’s troops to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible after six Italian troops died in Thursday’s car bombing.
U.S. public commitment to Afghanistan has also been wavering. Some in America are urging a full U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, advocating the use of a battle fought from afar using unmanned drones and a small special operations force.
Earlier this week, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said it was to early to say whether more American troops were needed in Afghanistan, despite increasing levels of violence.
Biden said a reevaluation of resources in Afghanistan should only happen after the results of last month’s presidential elections, themselves marred by sporadic violence and numerous allegations of corruption.
Do you think the coalition mission in Afghanistan is still achievable? What do you think is the best way to end the violence?