Gen. David McKiernan, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, offered a grim assessment of the conflict this morning during a visit to Washington, saying that he doesn't yet see progress in large swaths of Afghanistan.
"What I have found after four months in Afghanistan is that the environment there is even more complex than I would have thought prior to my arrival," he said. He cited a lack of resources and human capital, and 30 "straight years of war" that have left a "traumatized" society and tribal system.
McKiernan warned that he needs more U.S. troops "as quickly as possible," adding that he agreed with the recent assessment of Defense Secretary Robert Gates that things may get worse in Afghanistan before they get better.
In particular, he pointed to a "nexus of insurgency" that includes a broad range of Taliban insurgents, Afghan warlords, and other criminal groups.
McKiernan has also said that there has been an increase in foreign fighters, including Chechens, Uzbeks, Saudis, and even Europeans, coming into eastern Afghanistan, which shares a border with Pakistan.