Mullen told reporters on Saturday that NATO and the United States have “enough forces to be successful in combat, but we haven’t had enough forces to hold the territory that we clear,” quoted the Associated Press.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai asked Mullen what kinds of operations the newly deployed troops would handle and said the Afghan government should be consulted about the new operations.
His office said in a statement Monday that Mullen told Karzai the new troops would be sent to dangerous regions with little security, particularly along the Pakistani border, reported the AP.
Karzai also reportedly told Mullen the troops need to be careful in Afghan villages. He has long decried the civilian death toll from some military operations.
Afghan and U.S. forces are trying to root out militants along the border between Afghanistan’s Kunar province and Pakistan’s Bajur region.
Kunar Gov. Sayed Fazeullah Wahidi said about 20 insurgents have been killed in the border region over the past month, according to the AP.
Pakistani forces are also conducting their own operations in Bajur in coordination with U.S. and Afghan forces.
Behind the scenes, Afghan government officials have been meeting with leaders in rural areas in an effort to lessen the influence of Taliban militants.
“The only way you can bring peace and stability to this country is to revive the traditional rule of people within the community in governance and security,” said Barna Karimi, deputy minister for policy at the Interdependent Directorate of Local Governance, an Afghan government department that leads the rural community outreach initiative, reported Reuters.
Meanwhile on Monday, two attackers in a car blew themselves up near an Afghan governor’s compound, killing one Afghan civilian and wounding seven.
Violence in Afghanistan has increased over the past two years. More than 6,100 people have died in insurgency-related violence this year, according to an AP tally compiled from Afghan and Western officials.