The U.S. general who oversees the war in Afghanistan says the ongoing Marjah offensive in the south is just the start of a broader campaign against the Taliban.
General David Petraeus says allied troops will focus on taking away Taliban safe havens during operations over the next 12 to 18 months.
Interviewed Sunday on NBC television, he did not predict how long the Marjah operation would take. Ground commanders have reported slow but steady progress in Marjah.
Meanwhile, the prime minister of the Netherlands says he expects Dutch troops will leave Afghanistan on schedule later this year. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende spoke on Dutch television, a day after his government collapsed when a main coalition partner said it could not support extending the Afghan deployment.
The country has nearly 2,000 troops serving mainly in Afghanistan's southern Uruzgan province. They are scheduled to leave in August.