The top NATO commander in Afghanistan says the country's police and army are losing too many men in battle.
U.S. General Joseph Dunford said Afghan security forces may need up to five more years of Western training and support before they can handle combat operations entirely on their own.
Dunford made the comments in an interview published on September 3 in the British daily "The Guardian."
U.S. President Barack Obama has promised that Afghans will take full responsibility for their country's security by the end of 2014, although some NATO troops will remain to provide training.
Dunford suggested that some of these soldiers may be required until 2018. He also said that in fulfilling its "assist" role, NATO may be required to provide combat support.
His comments come a day after militants attacked a U.S. base in Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan, setting off bombs, torching vehicles and shutting down a key road used by NATO supply trucks.
Based on reporting by AFP and 'The Guardian'