Afghan war results 'harder' and 'slower' than anticipated: Panetta

     While there has been substantial progress in the US' 'war on terror' in Afghanistan, the results of the nine year old struggle have been 'harder and slower' than expected, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief Leon Panetta has said. Speaking during ABC's 'This Week' programme, Panetta conceded that "there are some serious problems" with the allied forces operation in Afghanistan. "It's harder, it's slower than I think anyone anticipated. But at the same time we are seeing an increase in violence," Panetta said. According to reports, June has been the deadliest month in the war for NATO forces in Afghanistan and the second deadliest for U.S. forces with nearly 52 troops being killed. The CIA chief added that the key to success or failure in Afghanistan, "is whether the Afghans accept responsibility, are able to deploy an effective army and police force to maintain stability." "Progress is seen in the fact that there's less deterioration as far as the ability of the Taliban to maintain control. So we are seeing elements of progress, but this is going to be tough," Panetta said. He also defended the CIA operated drone strikes on Al-Qaeda and Taliban extremists in the rugged tribal region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, saying that claims regarding them violating international law were "dead wrong." "We have a duty, we have a responsibility, to defend this country so that al-Qaeda never conducts that kind of attack again," Panetta said.

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