Afghan Progress Like 'Watching Paint Dry': Petraeus But general says those gains are worth it By Nick McMaster, Newser Staff Posted Sep 14, 2010 4:58 PM CDT 4 comments Comments Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of ISAF and U.S. forces in Afghanistan speaks to the media at his office in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010. (AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi) (Newser) – A full counterinsurgency victory in Afghanistan could take a full decade, General Petraeus tells ABC News in a wide-ranging interview. Despite that, he fully expects to follow the president's plan to begin drawing down forces in July 2011. The pace at which that withdrawal proceeds, however, will be "determined by conditions on the ground." Petraeus also defends the surge: "I think there's no question that in Helmand Province, the six central districts of Helmand Province, are a good bit more secure than they were even six months ago." "Marja," the general continued, "as hard fought and as embattled as it has been, three days ago opened up its high school for the first time in six years." These are "very hard fought gains," he says at another point. "Very difficult and sometimes seeming to be as slow as watching grass grow or paint dry." ABC provides a full transcript here. Click here for more on Petraeus.