David Guttenfelder/AP

Afghanistan Looking Bleaker for Coalition Forces

July 07, 2008 02:16 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A massive jailbreak and record month for coalition deaths show the Taliban gaining strength in Afghanistan; a U.S. military official says more troops are needed but are unavailable.

30-Second Summary

Taliban and extremist forces have become a “complex problem” related to the drug trade, a stumbling economy and the border with Pakistan, says Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.

“I don’t have troops I can reach for, brigades I can reach to send into Afghanistan until I have a reduced requirement in Iraq,” Mullen said last week at the Pentagon, according to The Washington Post. “Afghanistan has been and remains an economy-of-force campaign, which by definition means we need more forces there.”

June was the worst month for U.S. and coalition soldiers in the country since the war started in 2001, with at least 45 foreign troop deaths. Thirty-one coalition soldiers died in Iraq in the same period, marking the second month in a row that more coalition troops have died in Afghanistan than in Iraq, reports the Voice of America.

President George W. Bush on Wednesday admitted to reporters that coalition troops face a challenge against the Taliban in the future. “It has been a tough month in Afghanistan but it has also been a tough month for the Taliban,” Bush said.

Also in June, a major Taliban jailbreak in Kandahar freed approximately 1,000 imprisoned insurgents, and an attack on President Hamid Karzai killed an Afghan lawmaker and a Shia leader.

Headline Links: U.S. forces fighting uphill battle in Afghanistan

Background: The Taliban's insurgency

Related Topic: ‘Afghanistan Eyes Newborns with Birth Certificate Drive’

Reference: Pakistan’s tribal areas and militants


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