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U.S. Commander Defends Afghan Efforts

An ISAF soldier in Afghanistan 22 September 2005 -- The U.S. military today defended its operations in Afghanistan, two days after they were criticized by the country's president --> /features/features_Article.aspx?m=09&y=2005&id=900600D2-12E7-41BE-A7E8-4FE582D9FBDB .

Major General Jason Kamiya, the U.S.-led coalition's operational commander, said air strikes have been "very decisive" in fighting militants and that house searches are usually done jointly with local troops.

But Kamiya told reporters at Bagram, the U.S. military's headquarters in Afghanistan, that while "part of the problem may extend from Pakistan," the insurgency is largely fueled internally.

In Washington, President George W. Bush also spoke about the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan.

"Our mission in Afghanistan is not yet complete," Bush said. "The international community is helping Afghanistan become a lasting democracy. There are still terrorists who seek to overthrow the young government. See, they want to return Afghanistan to what it was under the Taliban -- a miserable place, a place where citizens have no rights, women are oppressed, and the terrorists have a safe haven to plan and plot attacks."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on 20 September challenged the need for major foreign military operations. He said foreign forces should instead "concentrate on where terrorists are trained, on their bases" -- a veiled reference to support that militants allegedly get from neighboring Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Taliban forces today attacked an Afghan army post in the eastern Paktika Province, killing two soldiers and wounding three.