US to begin sending troops home from Afghanistan in July
Published 16/03/2011 | 09:21
The US military will be able to begin sending troops home from Afghanistan in July, according to Gen David Petraeus.
The commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan said that although success remained "fragile and reversible", the advance of the Taliban had been halted in key parts of the country.
"The momentum achieved by the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2005 has been arrested in much of the country and reversed in a number of important areas," he told a hearing of the Senate armed services committee.
He said the US military would be able to begin sending home troops in July 2011, as promised by President Barack Obama, though he provided no further details. The Pentagon was also on course to achieve its target of handing over the leading role in security to the Afghans by the end of 2014.
There are currently 97,000 US forces on the ground fighting alongside 45,000 troops from Nato countries, including 9,500 from Britain, as part of the international coalition put in place after US-led troops ousted the Taliban from power in late 2001.
Gen Petraeus' comments came as a poll for the Washington Post showed that 64pc of Americans now thought the war was not worth fighting for, up from 44pc in late 2009.