News / Asia

Petraeus: Much More Work Needed in Afghanistan

General David Patraeus (file photo)
General David Patraeus (file photo)

The outgoing commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, saluted soldiers on his last Fourth of July in uniform before becoming the new director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

During a re-enlistment ceremony in Kandahar Monday, Petraeus told the soldiers on America's 235th birthday, their action was the most meaningful display of patriotism possible.  He cautioned, however, that "much work remains to be done in Afghanistan."

The general, who was recently confirmed as the next CIA director, will be replaced by U.S. Marine Lieutenant General John Allen at a ceremony scheduled for July 18.

In violence Monday, NATO said two soldiers were killed - one by a bomb blast in the east, the other in an insurgent attack in the south. Troops recovered the body of a British soldier who went missing earlier in the day in southern Helmand province.  Britain's Defense Ministry said the soldier was found shot dead following an extensive search.

A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the soldier's capture and death.

News of the kidnapping came as British Prime Minister David Cameron visited Afghanistan.

Mr. Cameron arrived at Camp Bastion in southern Helmand province, but later cancelled plans to visit a base in Lashkar Gah so that helicopters could be used in the search.

Britain has about 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, the second-largest foreign contingent in the country. Most of the British soldiers are in Helmand province, one of the most violent areas of the country.  

Presently, just one NATO soldier is believed to be in captivity: Bowe Bergdahl, a 25-year-old U.S. soldier who disappeared from his base in eastern Paktika province in June 2009.

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