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US Training Afghans to Take the Lead in Fight Against Taliban

Department of Defense/Pfc. Jorge A. Ortiz, U.S. Marine Corps(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- The U.S. chief of day-to-day military operations in Afghanistan announced a Pentagon strategy Wednesday that will enable Afghan forces to lead the fight against their enemies.

Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti said the plan, which would begin taking effect this year, would allow U.S. and NATO forces to take a less active role in the 10-year-long war.

Scaparrotti, the second highest-ranking American officer in Afghanistan, told reporters, "I’m pressing commanders to put them into the lead as soon as they can.  The earlier we get them into the lead, the better we have a metric of just how well they’re doing and we also know better how to improve them."

The goal is to put virtually all Afghan forces in lead combat roles at some point next year, but Scaparrotti acknowledged that the pace of the strategy will depend on conditions on the ground.

However, the general maintains that this plan still takes a backseat to the number one priority at the moment, which is to "maintain the momentum" in the ongoing battle against the Taliban, particularly in southern Afghanistan, which remains the enemy's base of power.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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