The head of the U.S. Central Command said that the huge battle raging in Marja, the Taliban stronghold, is only the “initial salvo” in a campaign that could last up to 18 months. General David H. Petraeus said on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that the Marja battle is just the beginning of America’s attempt, with the help of Afghanistan and other international forces, to defeat the Taliban in a “comprehensive civil-military campaign.” Petraeus said Special Forces were playing a prominent role in the efforts as well as nearly 20 percent of the 30,000 troops Obama promised to deploy. The general added that he is strongly opposed to torturing captives to obtain information. “Whenever we have, perhaps, taken expedient measures, they have turned around and bitten us in the backside,” Petraeus said.
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