'Expect another hard year in Afghan war'
Islam Times - Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the US military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that the coming year will be a difficult one for US troops in Afghanistan.
Islam Times reports from “I think our losses, which were significant last year, will be this year as well,” Mullen said in Afghanistan on Tuesday.
He also said he expected heavy fighting in the months ahead.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the fight against militants in Afghanistan “has made progress” over the past 15 months. However, Democratic members of the US Congress have rejected the upbeat government assessment of progress, pointing out that 2010 has been the deadliest year for both the Afghan people and US soldiers.
Speaking at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin last Thursday, Clinton once again shied away from expounding on a timeline about the US military pullout from Afghanistan, saying “we are transitioning, not leaving.”
Since 2009, Washington has tripled the number of US troops in Afghanistan to 100,000. The Obama administration had promised to begin a drawdown of troops in July, but later announced that US forces would leave in 2014.
The US has plans to set up permanent military bases in Afghanistan to continue the war on the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
However, the plan has outraged the Afghan people, who say that they will never allow the country to be subjugated by foreign invaders.
A total of 1,424 US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since the US-led war began in 2001.
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