Afghanistan "mission possible" for coalition forces: Australian defense chief

17:05, March 30, 2010      

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Australia's defense chief Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston revealed on Tuesday the tide is starting to turn against insurgents in Afghanistan.

Houston said he did not want to overstate it too much as big challenges remained, establishing governance and delivering the right services including a robust police in former Taliban areas.

However, he said the right strategy was in place, the right leader in International Security Assistance Force head General Stanley McChrystal was in charge and the right amount of resources were now available.

Previously, the Afghanistan mission amounted to an "economy of force" operation, through which the west could never have prevailed, he said.

Houston said it was now "mission possible".

"Indeed I would submit that the tide is starting to turn," he told a parliamentary committee.

"What we are starting to see is the coalition starting to get on top of the insurgents. Now I wouldn't overstate that. I think there is a long, long way to go."

Australia currently has some 1,550 troops in Afghanistan with most operating in Oruzgan province in south-central Afghanistan.

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