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US general sees progress in Afghanistan by summer

The US troop buildup in Afghanistan will make "significant progress" in turning back the Taliban and securing the country by the coming summer, General Stanley McChrystal, the top commander, predicted on Thursday.

world Updated: Dec 09, 2009 08:01 IST

The US troop buildup in Afghanistan will make "significant progress" in turning back the Taliban and securing the country by the coming summer, General Stanley McChrystal, the top commander, predicted on Thursday.

"By next summer I expect there to be significant progress that is evident to us," McChrystal said in congressional testimony.

McChrystal appeared before the House Armed Services Committee oneweek after President Barack Obama outlined his new strategy for winning that war, which includes expanding the US military presence by 30,000 soldiers. The general was accompanied by the US ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry.

McChrystal, however, said the "decisive point" will come when it's evident to the Afghan people that the mission is succeeding and the Taliban in being defeated. He predicted that will be achieved by the summer of 2011, which Obama pegged as the timeframe for beginning US withdrawals.

"When it's unequivocally clear to (the Afghan people), that will be a decisive point," said the general, who commands US and NATO forces in the country.

McChrystal, who originally sought 40,000 additional troops, said he backed Obama's revised strategy designed to reverse strong Taliban gains in recent years that have caused security in Afghanistan to sharply deteriorate.