WASHINGTON, October 6 (RIA Novosti) - The radical Islamic Taliban group has advantage in Afghanistan as the United States and its allies need more troops to be sent there, the U.S. secretary of defense said.
Speaking at the George Washington University on Monday evening Robert Gates said that because of the inability of the United States and its allies to send more troops in Afghanistan "the Taliban do have the momentum right now, it seems."
Servicemen from over 40 countries act in Afghanistan under NATO command. At least 379 foreign troops have died this year in Afghanistan of which over 220 were U.S. military personnel. There are currently some 100,000 military personnel in Afghanistan, including 65,000 U.S. troops.
Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta said at the 64th session of the UN General Assembly that Kabul fully supports troop increases as part of the new U.S. strategy to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Gates also said that the United States is "not leaving Afghanistan," voicing the same message delivered earlier by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
"I don't think we have the option to leave. I think that's quite clear," Gibbs said at the daily White House briefing on Monday.
Eight U.S. soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday. The attack, the deadliest assault on the coalition forces for more than a year, occurred in the remote province of Nuristan near the Pakistani border when the militants attacked two outposts.