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London – A top British general has warned that NATO forces in Afghanistan have “reached their limit” and suggested that it was time to consider supporting the formation of local tribal militias to help stabilize the country.

General Michael Rose, former commander of UN forces in Bosnia, said he believed there were not enough combat troops to enable NATO to uphold the momentum against Taliban fighters.

“As in all insurgency wars, winning the confidence and consent of the people of Afghanistan will always be more important than winning any particular tactical level military battle against the Taliban,” Rose said in comments published Tuesday by the military think tank the Royal United Services Institute.

Rose, who has recently returned from Afghanistan, said that while the international community was clearly committed to victory, serious operational problems remained for NATO’s mission.

He suggested that Afghan tribal militias should be formed to aid western forces and the Afghan army.

“By winning the support of the Pashtun tribes who live on both sides of the border and by developing a sympathetic understanding of their complex tribal systems, it should be possible to achieve security in the key eastern and southern areas of Afghanistan,” he wrote.

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