US commander in Afghanistan suggests 'no further troop reduction until late 2012'

Washington, Mar 21 (ANI): A top US commander in Afghanistan has said that he would not consider further American troop reductions until late this year, after the departure of the current 'surge' forces.

General John R. Allen, a Marine four-star general who commands the American-led allied forces in Afghanistan, said that only after reviewing the results of the next six months of fighting, at the end of which there will be 68,000 American troops remaining there, he would turn his attention to the pace of further reductions in the force.

But he repeatedly said that by the end of next year, Afghan forces would have taken over primary responsibility for operations across the country, allowing NATO's combat role to be finished by the end of 2014, as currently scheduled, The New York Times reports.

According to the paper, General Allen emphasized that Afghan security forces were growing stronger, having reached 330,000, and that their buildup remained on track.

He also emphasized that he remained optimistic about eventual success, but that it was too early to begin shifting forces from battles in the south to the country's turbulent eastern provinces.

General Allen also acknowledged the deep sensitivities, especially given the current diplomatic crisis with Afghanistan, involved in handing over complete security control to Afghan forces, including over the commando night raids that American commanders say are critical to the war effort.

These are the subject of intense negotiation, he testified. (ANI)

  • Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford Focus ST or Fiesta ST buyers 7 minutes ago
    Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford Focus ST or Fiesta ST buyers

    Buyers of Ferraris or Jaguars are used to perks from manufacturers – including racetrack lessons to help master their exotic machines. But for enthusiasts on a tighter budget, the Ford ST Octane Academy might be the sweetest deal in motoring: Buy a Ford Fiesta ST or Focus ST hatchback, and the reward is a free day of training at one of America’s longest, most-lavish road courses.

  • Why you can't buy America's greenest car 3 hours ago
    Why you can't buy America's greenest car

    Ask me or any auto expert what's the fastest car you can buy for any given amount, and we could easily cough up several options. Same for most luxurious, or off-roadable, or any other measurement. Yet there's one type of question that's far harder to answer: What's the greenest, most environmentally friendly car you can buy today?

  • Audi TT Offroad concept debuts as a 124-mpg hybrid with wireless charging 4 hours ago
    Audi TT Offroad concept debuts as a 124-mpg hybrid with wireless charging

    The TT. Audi's diminutive sports car. Since production began in 1998, the two-door coupe has aged with the pugnacity of a grizzled New Yorker, but not in size. And why would it, as the arrival of the TT RS proved, adding some grit makes for a rather captivating dish. And so you'll excuse us for being puzzled by the Audi TT Offroad concept.

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.

  • McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania
    McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania

    It may not be safe to enter a McDonald’s restaurant in Singapore on Mondays starting 28 April. To celebrate the iconic Japanese character Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, the fast food chain announced last Friday that it would be releasing a new collection of Hello Kitty toys in McDonald’s restaurants island wide next Monday.

  • First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy
    First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy

    He called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.