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Petraeus: Hard year ahead in Afghanistan

http://66.225.205.104/0303Petraeus.mp3

General David Petraeus warns it's going to be a hard year for U.S. troops as they continue an offensive in Afghanistan. He addressed the World Affairs Council of Charlotte. Howard and Ann Shields drove down from Winston-Salem because of their son in Afghanistan. Col. Burton Shields is serving in Marjah, a town that had been a Taliban stronghold. US-led forces took control of Marjah last week. Ann Shields is obviously worried. "It's just such a difficult situation. You don't know who the enemy is." Howard and Ann are glad the Taliban no longer controls Marjah, but they're concerned about some of the replacement inheriting that power. "They not only have to deal with the Taliban, but they have to deal with the Afghan police and the military trying to get them to act honorably," Ann Shields says. "The military can take, but how do they hold and build?" Howard Shields asks. "The military can take over an area. How do they hold it? How do they build it and turn it over to the Afghan people?" They didn't hear General Petraeus address this concern during Tuesday's luncheon of the World Affairs Council of Charlotte. Instead, they heard him compare what's happening now Afghanistan to early days of the troop surge in Iraq. Petraeus led that surge. Now, he's overseeing a surge in Afghanistan that's expected to require 30,000 troops over the next 12 to 18 months. "In Iraq, as you'll recall, when we did the surge and we fought to take away sanctuaries and safe havens from the bad guys, they fight back. There are tough losses during those times. This is going to be a hard, hard year. Petraeus called the Afghanistan offensive a "hugely important endeavor" because the 9-11 attacks were planned there. He says the U.S. can't let the country become a sanctuary for terrorists again. One member of the audience pointed out there are efforts to recruit Petraeus to run for president in 2012 Patraeus answered by referring to an old Lori Morgan Country song, "What Part of No Don't You Understand?"