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Retaking Afghan Towns

Afghan and coalition forces retook Garmser and Naway-i-Barakzayi, two towns in Afghanistan's Helmand province. Tom Collins, a U.S. army spokesman, says, "The Taleban would love for you to believe that they [the Taleban] are seizing these areas in pitched battles":

"But that's not the case at all. Essentially they are forcing out small groups of Afghan national police. In outlying areas, there isn't a large [Afghan] government presence."

The extremist Taleban regime was ousted from power in 2001 by a U.S.-led military operation. In recent weeks, more than ten-thousand Afghan and coalition troops have been sweeping across southern Afghanistan. An estimated six-hundred mostly Taleban fighters have been killed.

NATO is taking a greater role in providing security in Afghanistan. By the end of the year, the NATO-led International Security Force in Afghanistan, will have some fifteen-thousand troops.

U.S. Army Major General Robert Durbin says the Afghan army is taking on more responsibilities. The Afghan army has some thirty-thousand soldiers and is expanding at the rate of about one-thousand new soldiers a month. Along with expanding the Afghan army, General Durbin says the Afghan government is committed to improving the national police force.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, "With so much progress, some could be tempted to think that the hard work is done. President Bush and I," she said, "do not share this view. Nor do the American people. The United States," said Secretary of State Rice, "is fully devoted to the long-term success of Afghanistan."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.