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General: U.S. Turning the Tide Against the Taliban

In this photo taken Oct. 11, 2010, U.S. Army soldiers from Scout Platoon 502 Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, walk into an outpost after a long patrol in Zhari district, Kandahar province. AP

The American commander in eastern Afghanistan believes U.S. and coalition forces there have turned the tide of battle against the Taliban.

"There was a lot of talk prior to coming in that the insurgency had the edge" said Maj. Gen. John Campbell, in a briefing today from Afghanistan. But after four months of tough fighting, "I think we've really stopped the momentum of the insurgency and it's turned the tide now."

With the number of improvised explosive device (IED) attacks decreasing in August, Campbell said captured insurgents revealed "they're not able to get to the IED making materials that they had, that their morale is down."

As a result, the U.S. military in Afghanistan is attempting to transplant the "Sons of Iraq" program -- which turned Sunni leaders against the insurgency in western Iraq.

"We're going to continue to take the lessons learned from Iraq," Campbell said. "It's just getting started" in Afghanistan.

Any advances against the Taliban have come at a cost, Campbell said. "June and July had the highest number of casualties for coalition soldiers in Afghanistan. August that went down. I think in September that went down as well."

Heavy fighting continues in several areas of this region along the Pakistan border, however. In Kunar Province "they're fighting every single day," Campbell said.

Insurgents from the Haqqani insurgent group who enjoy safe haven in Pakistan continue to cross the border to attack U.S. forces in Afghanistan, he added.

"We've killed hundreds and hundreds of Haqqani network soldiers. But we can't kill our way out of this thing. We need to continue to work the governance and development," Campbell said.

CBSNews.com Special Report: Afghanistan

Mary Walsh is a CBS News Pentagon producer based in Washington.

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