Posted: Dec 17, 2009 7:51 AM by Associated Press
President Barack Obama's top military adviser is visiting the front lines of the war in Afghanistan. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is advising troops there to "focus on the people" of Afghanistan.
Mullen made his first stop at a small base in the critical Kandahar province where U.S. forces have taken heavy losses since arriving in August. Mullen told the troops the way to win is to focus on protecting major population areas and ensuring that Afghans can move about freely. As he put it, "We can tactically win, but if we're killing local civilians were going to strategically lose."
Mullen later flew by helicopter to Camp Nathan Smith, a small base in Kandahar city. He talked with five local tribal leaders, who told him that corruption at all levels is crippling the country.
Mullen acknowledged that "We have to start delivering results now." He also assured the leaders that U.S. forces do not plan to stay any longer than needed.