The Pentagon's top military officer says wresting control of the city of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan is a key to stopping the Taliban's growing influence.
Kandahar remains the spiritual heartland of the insurgency and a stubborn holdout in NATO's efforts to help boost the Afghan government's control of the nation. The NATO force has been gearing up for months for a major military push there.
Adm. Mike Mullen said at a news conference Wednesday in the Afghan capital that Kandahar is a "cornerstone in reversing the momentum" of the Taliban.
He says seizing control of Kandahar would help to put the Afghan government in a position of strength to pursue reconciliation talks with insurgents.
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