Tags: AS | Afghanistan

Petraeus Says Al-Qaida Not on Rise in Afghanistan

Saturday, 09 Apr 2011 10:35 AM

 


KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan says that while small numbers of al-Qaida fighters have been searching for hide-outs in rugged areas of eastern Afghanistan, he does not think they are making a comeback inside the country.

Gen. David Petraeus told reporters Saturday in Kabul that the general assessment is that there are fewer than 100 al-Qaida fighters in the country.

But he says they are exploring safe havens in mountainous areas of Nuristan and Kunar provinces.

Asked about speculation over his next assignment, Petraeus said he's committed to staying in Afghanistan until the weather turns cold again and insurgent activity typically slows.

The general dodged a question about whether he wanted to be CIA director, one of several jobs being floated in Washington.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Gen. David Petraeus said Saturday that he's not sure what his next job will be but that he has committed to staying as the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan through the current fighting season.

Petraeus addressed speculation about his future job while talking to reporters at a farewell ceremony for top NATO civilian representative Mark Sedwill held at the coalition's headquarters in the Afghan capital.

"Actually, I don't know," Petraeus said, responding to questions about his future. "I have committed to staying here through the fighting season."

There is fighting year-round in Afghanistan, but insurgent activity typically slows when the weather gets cold.

Reporters asked him directly if he wanted to become CIA director — one of several positions being floated in Washington. Petraeus dodged the question, saying he didn't think it was appropriate to comment on jobs he might be asked to take.

He said reports that he was physically tired were wrong.

"I'm certainly not tired," he said.

He said that if anyone needed proof, they could join him for a run on a five-mile course in Kabul, which is 6,000 feet (1830 meters) above sea level.


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