Petraeus backs US troop drawdown in Afghanistan

Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 15, 2011, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the situation in Afghanistan.  (AP Photo)
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Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 15, 2011, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the situation in Afghanistan. (AP Photo)

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan insists the military can boost Afghan security forces to fight the Taliban, begin a troop drawdown this summer and fulfill President Barack Obama's goal of a long-term partnership with the Kabul government.

Facing a skeptical Congress and a war-weary public, Army Gen. David Petraeus is seeking to build support for the continued and costly U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, telling lawmakers the conflict is turning around despite concerns about the viability of President Hamid Karzai's government and the dedication of neighboring Pakistan to root out terrorism.

The general concludes two days of testimony on Capitol Hill Wednesday with an appearance before the House Armed Services Committee.