The resurgent Taliban militia are a tactical problem for the US-led coalition, but cannot not take over Afghanistan again, a top American general said on Friday.
This came even as the coalition reported that two of its soldiers were injured in the volatile south.
Marine Gen Peter Pace, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be visiting Afghanistan ahead of the NATO's assumption of command from the coalition of security operations in southern provinces where the Taliban have stepped up attacks this year.
The Taliban "may be a day-to-day tactical problem for us, but we are a long-term strategic problem for them," Pace was quoted as saying on Thursday by the Department of Defence website.
"They can pick and choose some battles, but they cannot take over this country again."
Afghanistan is in the midst of its deadliest violence ever since the US-led invasion in late 2001 that toppled the Taliban regime for hosting the 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.
Two coalition soldiers were wounded in the troublesome Sangin district of southern Helmand province on Thursday during a clash with Taliban rebels, said Maj Scott Lundy, a coalition spokesman. He did not disclose the soldiers' nationality.
He said their conditions were not life-threatening. More than 10,000 US, Canadian, British and Afghan troops are in the midst of a large-scale anti-Taliban offensive across the south, preparing the ground for the mission of the NATO-led security force to stabilise the area.
The coalition says more than 600 Taliban have been killed in the offensive since June 10.