Afghanistan war focus to shift from south to eastern border with Pakistan: Petraeus

Last Updated: Tue, Jul 05, 2011 10:40 hrs

The focus of the ongoing war in Afghanistan will shift in coming months from Taliban strongholds in the south to the militant-infested eastern border with Pakistan, General David Petraeus, the outgoing commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has said.

Soon, more special forces, intelligence, surveillance and air power will be concentrated in areas along Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan where insurgents closest to Al-Qaida and other militants hold sway, General Petraeus said.

"There could be some small (coalition) forces that will move, but this is about shifting helicopters - lift and attack. It's about shifting close-air support. It's about shifting, above all, intelligence, surveillance and recognizance assets," The News quoted General Petraeus, as saying in interviews with a news agency and three other news outlets.

The priority has been central Helmand province and Kandahar, where the forces have made significant progress, General Petraeus said, adding, "It remains a tough fight because the enemy wants to come back and try to regain the momentum the Taliban had until we took it away sometime last fall."

"We intend to hang on to those areas and solidify that progress and transition, increasingly, to a greater Afghan presence," he stated.

General Petraeus explained that this would allow the coalition to shift focus to the east, which is home to the Afghan Taliban and other groups such as the Al-Qaida affiliated Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which is held responsible for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. (ANI)

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