The U-S General is in charge of the anti-terrorism war in Afghanistan says he is pleased with the progress of the military campaign, but a great deal of work still remains to be done.
General Tommy Franks spoke at a news conference today (Wednesday) in Uzbekistan.
He said he could not predict how long it would take for the besieged northern Afghan city of Kunduz to fall. But he said in the end the U-S led coalition will prevail.
General Franks said the coalition also needs to complete its work in Kanadahar, where Taleban forces are still holding out. He added that the most important goal is to complete the destruction of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network.
General Franks said that on Tuesday he visited Bagram air base, north of Kabul, for talks with the leaders of the opposition Northern Alliance.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Taleban leader Mullah Omar told a news conference in Afghanistan that the Taleban will continue to defend the territory they hold to the death. He said it is their religious duty. The spokesman also said the Taleban no longer has any communication or relationship with Osama Bin Laden.
U-S defense officials said Tuesday as many as 15-hundred Marines will likely be sent into Afghanistan to join the hunt for al-Qaida leaders. The United States has offered a 25-million dollar reward for Osama bin Laden or information leading to his capture.
The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (news agency) says U-S warplanes are continuing to bomb targets in and around Kandahar and Kunduz.
Opposition forces are keeping Taleban fighters in both cities under siege and are negotiating for their surrender.
In Kunduz, several thousand foreign fighters - mainly Chechens, Pakistanis and Arabs - are fighting alongside the Taleban. The opposition alliance says the foreign fighters appear to be planning to fight to the death rather than surrender and face possible reprisal killings. They are also said to be killing Afghan Taleban troop who want to give themselves up.
A Pentagon spokesman says that, if asked,U-S forces would stop bombing specific locations to allow the talks to move forward. Tens of thousands of civilians are said to be trapped inside the city of Kunduz.