Top US general in Afghanistan says Taliban fight has 'turned the corner'

Top US general in Afghanistan says Taliban fight has 'turned the corner'
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The top U.S. general in Afghanistan said Tuesday that coalition forces have "turned the corner" in the fight against the Taliban. 

Army Gen. John Nicholson said new leadership in the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, the new U.S. strategy in the country and a bigger international push to defeat terrorism have led to progress.

“These changes in leadership, strengthened and supported by the renewed international will and the U.S. policy announcement, have shifted the momentum in their favor,” he said. 


In addition, a three-day bombing campaign on opium production in the country earlier this month “removed between $7 million and $10 million of revenue from the Taliban's pocketbook,” Nicholson told Pentagon reporters from a live video feed.

However, U.S. officials have touted that forces have "turned a corner" several times over the past 16 years of the Afghanistan war. President Obama made a similar claim in 2011.

Nicholson said just last week that the fight was “still in a stalemate.”

Nicholson’s remarks come three months after President Trump announced a new strategy for Afghanistan, which includes sending about 3,000 more U.S. forces to the country and delegating more authority to commanders.

The 3,000 troops have since been deployed, bringing the official number of forces in the country up to 14,000. About 1,000 of those soldiers will “advise” Afghan military units in conflict zones next year.

The new plan “is really fundamentally different. ... That’s why I express confidence that we are on our way to a win,” Nicholson said.

Nicholson earlier this month said that the Pentagon will assess the progress of the war in two years. He asserted Tuesday that the Taliban “cannot win in the face of the pressures that I outlined.”

“Their choices are to reconcile, live in irrelevance, or die,” he added.