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Germany

NATO forces ahead of schedule: Petraeus

In an interview with a German newspaper, General David Petraeus has said NATO forces in Afghanistan are ahead of schedule. He was also optimistic on the progress forces were making against insurgents.

General David Petraeus, the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan

NATO is succeeding in the fight against insurgents: Petraeus

NATO forces are making progress with the build-up of local security forces in Afghanistan, according to General David Petraeus, commander of the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF).

Petraeus, speaking with the German daily newspaper Rheinische Post on Wednesday, said NATO is actually well ahead of schedule.

"We're heading in the exactly the right direction," said Petraeus, adding that in the southern province of Kandahar, the number of Afghan forces in some cases actually surpasses the number of NATO troops.

As NATO begins to gradually withdraw its troops from the region, the organization is working to bolster Afghan security and police forces before 2014, when security duties in the country are expected to be handed over to the government in Kabul.

Petraeus was also optimistic on the progress NATO was making in the fight against insurgents.

"In several important parts of the country, including Kandahar and Helmand, and also the province of Urozgan and especially the Kabul region, we have succeeded in not only stopping the insurgents but also reversing their initiative," he said.

Commenting on the controversial topic of the withdrawal of German troops from the region, Petraeus stressed that the handover did not depend on "a set timeline" for withdrawal, but on a set of conditions that have been achieved on the ground. He said the Afghan leadership should not be overwhelmed.

Author: Martin Kuebler (AFP, dapd)
Editor: Rob Turner