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New troops will turn the tide in Afghanistan: Mullen

About 17,000 extra US troops headed to Afghanistan will allow security forces to begin overcoming the Taliban in the volatile south, the top US military commander has said in Kabul

world Updated: Apr 06, 2009 12:03 IST

About 17,000 extra US troops headed to Afghanistan will allow security forces to begin overcoming the Taliban in the volatile south, the top US military commander has said in Kabul."I am convinced that the additional military capacity will certainly start to allow us to turn the tide in the south where it has not gone well," Admiral Mike Mullen told reporters on the first day of a trip to Kabul on Sunday."The trends in the south and east for the last few years are all going in the wrong direction," said Mullen, who is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The extra soldiers who will add to about 70,000 international troops already in Afghanistan, including about 38,000 from the United States are due to begin arriving in the coming months.President Barack Obama has also announced 4,000 soldiers for training the Afghan security forces, which Mullen said was "vital".

It comes with an international effort against Al-Qaeda-linked Taliban fighters at a stalemate in the south, where the insurgents control large areas of land, some of them prime opium-producing areas.Mullen arrived earlier on Sunday with the special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke.