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US dismisses Afghan war comments

Britain’s military commander and ambassador in Afghanistan are being “defeatist” by thinking the war cannot be won, says, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

world Updated: Oct 07, 2008 22:36 IST

Britain’s military commander and ambassador in Afghanistan are being “defeatist” by thinking the war cannot be won, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, as Washington seeks more troops for the conflict that started exactly seven years ago.

The comments by the officials from Britain, a key ally to the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq, were echoed by the top United Nations official in Kabul, who said success was only possible through dialogue and other political efforts. After the invasion of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 to oust the fundamentalist Taliban government in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States, security has deteriorated markedly over the past two years.

“While we face significant challenges in Afghanistan, there certainly is no reason to be defeatist or to underestimate the opportunities to be successful in the long run,” Gates said. Washington is reviewing its Afghan strategy in a similar way to the 2006 reappraisal of its Iraq policy that led to a “surge” of 30,000 troops and helped pull the country back from the brink of civil war.

Pak to deport Afghans from tribal region

Pakistan ordered the deportation of about 50,000 Afghan refugees in an insurgency-wracked tribal region amid a major military offensive against Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters. The government said it was expelling all Afghan refugees in the Bajur tribal region, alleging many of them have links to militant groups.

Police in the town of Khar in Bajur arrested 25 Afghans and said they would soon be deported.