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U.S. troops in Afghanistan wrap up assessment report: Pentagon officials

2009-09-01 07:41 BJT

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- A report of assessment on the Afghanistan war has been wrapped up and forwarded to NATO and U.S. leaders, said Pentagon officials on Monday.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters during his visit to Fort Worth, Texas that the report has been sent to the head of U.S. Central Command, General David Petraeus, for comment and would be delivered to himself in the next day or two.

The assessment will point to the challenges before foreign and Afghan troops, and will also point to areas "where we can do better and can make improvements in our strategy and tactics," said the secretary.

"I think General McChrystal's assessment will be a realistic one and set forth the challenges we have in front of us," he added.

The report, authored by Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, was also submitted to NATO Secretary General Fogh Rasmussen.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said earlier in the day that the report, as a confidential military assessment, would not be made public, but it does not include any specific requests for more troops or funding, contrary to some previous speculations.

The White House also confirmed on Monday that any formal request for more troops would come later.

"This report is an assessment of what, in his assessment, needs to change. Any specific resource recommendations, I'm told, will be made in the coming weeks but are not a part of this report," said spokesman Robert Gibbs at a press conference.

McChrystal has been working on the review since he took up command in mid-June, which has been considered part of U.S. President Barack Obama's sweeping new strategy for the Afghanistan war.

"The situation in Afghanistan is serious but success is achievable and demands a revised implementation strategy, commitment and resolve, and increased unity of effort," said McChrystal in a statement sent from Kabul.

The commander also said that his assessment seeks to implement Obama's strategy "to reduce the capability and will of the insurgents, Al-Qaeda and transnational extremists" as well as develop Afghan forces and improve governance and development.

Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua