It will take “a few years” to defeat the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan, the top US general in the country said, reiterating US support for the fight.
Major General David Rodriguez, head of the US-led coalition force, said the US military would stay in the country “as long as they are needed.”
“We definitely think it will take a few years for the Afghan people and the Afghan leaders supported by the coalition forces to defeat them,” he said in a response to a question from a journalist.
An insurgency led by the Taliban, who were in government between 1996 and 2001, has been growing in the past two years with a spike in suicide attacks and roadside bombings.
The deadliest blast struck outside the southern city of Kandahar on Sunday, leaving more than 100 people dead. The Taliban denied involvement but officials said they were to blame.
On Monday another suicide blast — this time claimed by the Taliban — killed nearly 40 people in Kandahar province’s border town of Spin Boldak.
Deputy US ambassador Christopher Dell, who accompanied Rodriguez on a trip to meet officials in the town of Maidan Shahr, west of Kabul, said that Taliban used terror tactics because they had little support among people.
“They are simply trying to terrorise them to play with fear in order to achieve their objectives,” he said.
The coalition works alongside a larger NATO-led force and the Afghan military.