General: Tide is turning against Taliban

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan says he believes the U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan is turning the tide against the Taliban.

In an interview aired Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Gen. Stanley McChrystal said he believes the troop surge has “changed the way we operate in Afghanistan” and is blunting the Taliban’s momentum. But McChrystal added: “It’s not a completed mission yet.”

He cited as evidence of progress a meeting he recently held in a river valley in Helmand province, an area where the Taliban has been strong and one of the first targets of the surge.

“When I sit in an area that the Taliban controlled only seven months ago and now you meet with a shura” — a traditional meeting — “of elders and they describe with considerable optimism the future, you sense the tide is turning,” he said.

President Barack Obama is sending an additional 30,000 U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan, which will bring the number of U.S. troops close to 98,000.