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President Bush Acknowledges Tough Fight in Afghanistan

  • VOA News

U.S. President George Bush says he is aware of difficulties American and allied troops are facing in Afghanistan, but that he is convinced the coalition strategy will work in the end.

Mr. Bush told a group of journalists in Washington Wednesday, coalition losses may be high because they are taking the battle to the enemy. He added that June also was a tough month for the Taliban.

NATO's Supreme Commander in Europe, U.S. General John Craddock, urged U.S. allies to provide more equipment -- especially helicopters and surveillance aircraft -- and ease restrictions on their forces.

The top U.S. military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, admitted there are not enough coalition troops in Afghanistan to hold territory taken from the Taliban. He also said NATO will never be able to provide enough troops to do the job, adding that American forces will have to fill the gap.

Admiral Mullen welcomed Pakistan's ongoing effort to crack down on militants in its tribal areas. He said it is important for Islamabad to sustain that effort in order to deny militants the safe havens they have been using to launch cross-border attacks.

Separately, the governor of southwestern Nimroz province (Ghulam Dastagir Azad) said a suicide bomber targeted his convoy Wednesday, killing three of his bodyguards and at least one civilian.

Just hours before, the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan said gunfire brought down one of its helicopters in Logar province. Officials said the pilots landed the aircraft and evacuated everyone before it caught fire.

Also Wednesday, NATO said a suicide car bomber attacked one of its patrols in Spin Boldak in southern Kandahar province. Afghan officials say two Canadian soldiers, three Afghan police and two civilians were wounded.

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