McChrystal speaks on Marjah, Kandahar efforts
03-08-2010 09:25 AM
KABUL — The top U.S. general in Afghanistan says the military campaign around the southern Afghan town of Marjah could have been faster, but the cost in civilian casualties would have been too high.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal says the Marjah campaign could been over in one night. Instead active military operations to rout the Taliban took about three weeks.
McChrystal spoke Monday with reporters traveling with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Afghanistan.
The military counts 19 Afghan civilian deaths from errant military action during the Marjah campaign.
McChrystal also said that an upcoming campaign to secure the city of Kandahar is still some time away.
Without being specific, McChrystal said the Kandahar operation will wait for a larger U.S. and NATO troop buildup over the next couple of months. The bulk of additional forces expected for the region will be in place by early summer.
The Kandahar operation is perhaps the most anticipated military effort of the war as President Barack Obama has redesigned it. The recent operation round the town of Marjah was a small-scale rehearsal for Kandahar, home base for the Taliban.
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