General Petraeus says raids using special forces on Afghan Taliban leaders on the rise.

The U.S. is deploying more counter-terrorism teams in Afghanistan designed…

The U.S. is deploying more counter-terrorism teams in Afghanistan designed to kill Taliban leaders as the Afghan government works to lure away their supporters, General David Petraeus, the combatant commander, said today.
The “operational tempo” in Afghanistan of so-called special mission units “is going to increase in the months ahead,” Petraeus said in an interview in Washington.

Alongside that military effort, the U.S. is working with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on his plan for a loya jirga, or tribal assembly, next month to discuss possible reconciliation with some Taliban loyalists, said Petraeus, the 57-year-old military commander in the Middle East and Central Asia.

The missions are part of a strategy intended to deny Taliban leaders unwilling to give up the fight any sanctuary in Afghanistan. The U.S., NATO and Afghan allies are seeking to secure population centers and train the country’s police and soldiers to take control starting in July 2011.

U.S. special forces “have been going after the Taliban leaders and the leaders of the other extremist elements that cause problems for our troopers and Afghanistan partners at a higher operational tempo in recent months,” Petraeus said.

“I don’t think you should ever assume that there is a location in Afghanistan that is beyond the reach of our forces,” he added.

Source: Tony Capaccio and Lizzie O’Leary for Business Week.

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