The U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, says he sees progress in the war but cautioned that the fight against the Taliban is an "up and down process."
In an interview aired Sunday on NBC Meet the Press, General Petraeus said the goal is to defeat the Taliban and prevent the country from again becoming a sanctuary for transnational extremists.
Petraeus says that reconciliation in Afghanistan will ultimately involve the government sitting down with the Taliban and members of other insurgent groups.
Petraeus' comments come as U.S. troops in Afghanistan have suffered some of the highest number of casualties in months.
Related video report by Robert Raffaele
U.S. President Barack Obama has set July 2011 as the date when U.S. forces will begin leaving Afghanistan. Petraeus says he will give the president his best professional military advice and would not hesitate to tell him if the date was unrealistic.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.