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Petraeus: Progress being made in Afghanistan

From Barbara Starr, CNN
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General David Petraeus on politics
  • The gains made are not irreversible, he says
  • "The trajectory of the rollercoaster in Afghanistan is upward"
  • Says he expects to recommend a reduction in U.S. forces

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, told CNN Saturday the Taliban's momentum in Afghanistan has "broadly been arrested" in some locations.

"My assessment is that the momentum the Taliban enjoyed until probably late summer has broadly been arrested in the country," Petraeus said. "It doesn't mean it's been arrested in every location in the country, but it means by and large that is the case, and moreover, more importantly, the ISAF and Afghan forces have achieved momentum in some very important areas."

However, he said, the gains made by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and Afghan forces are not irreversible.

"There is no day in Afghanistan that doesn't have some bad news," he said. "The question is how much bad news relative to how much, if you will, how much good news [is received]. As a general assessment right now, the trajectory of the rollercoaster in Afghanistan is upward."

Petraeus said he expects to be able to recommend to President Barack Obama that the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan could begin to be reduced beginning July 2011, but declined to say how many troops could be headed home.