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Bush Concedes 'Tough Month' in Afghanistan

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Published on Jul 2, 2008

PlusBush Concedes 'Tough Month' in AfghanistanBush Concedes 'Tough Month' in AfghanistanThe Associated PressPresident Bush said Wednesday it has been a 'tough month' in Afghanistan, where more U.S. and NATO troops died during the past two months than in Iraq. (July 2)While Iraq has dominated the headlines... [Notes:UPSOUND Afghan file footage] ... the less publicized fight in Afghanistan has intensified. In June, 28 were killed in action -- the deadliest month for U.S. troops since the 2001 invasion. In fact, for the last TWO months, more U.S. and NATO troops died in Afghanistan than in Iraq. MULLEN SOT: (11:02:30) "The Taliban and their supporters have without question become more effective and more aggressive in recent weeks, as the casualty figures clearly demonstrate. " FONT: Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman, Joint Chiefs [Notes:Mullen cutaway, then Bush walkin]But while his top military man sees a Taliban resurgence, President Bush says HE sees the allies taking the fight to a determined enemy. BUSH SOT: (8:20 from start) "It has been a tough month in Afghanistan. But it's also been a tough month for the Taliban." [Notes:More Afghan file]America and its allies have already boosted troop levels in Afghanistan. NATO'S got 43,000 there, a separate American-led coalition numbers 13,000, and MORE are slated to arrive next year. [Notes:Iraq file footage]But the problem for America is so many are deployed in Iraq. MULLEN SOT: (11:03:10) "I've made no s-ecret of my desire to flow more US forces into Afghanistan just as soon as I can. Nor have I been shy about saying that those forces will not be available unless or until the situation in Iraq permits us to do so." [Notes:Back to Bush in Rose garden]Answering questions in the Rose Garden, the president acknowledged the need for more troops in Afghanistan -- and said it's all "under review." [Notes:Standup close]Of course the president has long maintained Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. One question he did NOT answer in the Rose Garden is whether he now agrees with what his CRITICS have long said: that Afghanistan is the key battleground.MS, The Associated Press, the White House

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