Gen. David Petraeus told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday that "the Taliban and its affiliates had, until this year, steadily been expanding the areas they control and influence."
"This year, however, (U.S.-led forces have) achieved progress in several locations," he said. "The initial main effort has been in the Central Helmand River Valley. And Afghan, U.S., and U.K. forces have expanded security there, though, predictably, the enemy has fought back as we have taken away (extremists') sanctuaries. ... Nothing has been easy in those operations."
Petraeus also highlighted the U.S. buildup in Kandahar Province, "an an area of considerable importance to the Taliban."
"We are working hard to ensure that our operations there are based on a strong, integrated civil-military and Afghan-international approach to security, governance, and development," he said.