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British Commander: NATO May Need 30 More Days To Secure Taliban Stronghold

A NATO commander says it could take more than three weeks more for NATO and Afghan troops to fully take control of a main Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan.

Major General Nick Carter, the British commander of NATO forces in southern Afghanistan, told reporters that allied forces engaged in Operation Mushtarak will need about 25 to 30 days more to completely secure the Marjah area.

The British major general added that once the area in Helmand Province has been secured, it will take another three months or so to tell whether coalition forces have succeeded in driving out Taliban influence and establishing control by Afghan authorities.

Officials say allied forces have taken control of the main roads, bridges, and government centers in Marjah, but reports say allied forces continue to face resistance from hidden bombs and militant gunfire.

Four NATO troops were reported killed in the area on February 18.

compiled from agency reports