Grappling with a record death toll in an overshadowed war, President George W Bush promised on Wednesday to send more US troops into Afghanistan by year's end. He conceded that June was a "tough month" in the nearly 7-year-old war.
In fact, it was the deadliest month for US troops in Afghanistan since the conflict began.
"One reason why there have been more deaths is because our troops are taking the fight to a tough enemy, an enemy who doesn't like our presence there because they don't like the idea of America denying safe haven (to terrorists)," Bush told reporters. "Of course there's going to be resistance."
Bush said it was a tough month too for the Taliban fighters. The former ruling Islamic militants have rebounded with deadly force since their overthrow 6 years ago by US-led troops.
More US and NATO troops have died in the past two months in Afghanistan than in Iraq, a place with triple the number of US and allied forces.
In June, 28 Americans died in Afghanistan. That was the highest monthly total of the war, which began in October 2001. For the full US-led coalition in Afghanistan the death toll was 46, also the highest of the war.
Bush confronted the grim direction of the Afghanistan conflict during a sun-splashed appearance in the Rose Garden of the White House. The president used the event to promote his agenda for a coming meeting in Japan of the Group of Eight industrialized countries, then spoke about Iran, climate change and gasoline prices in a short session with reporters.