The United States needs to prepare for “more violence and more casualties in coming months” in Afghanistan, according to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.

He also predicted that, “The violence will be worse in 2011 than it was in 2010.”

Speaking to journalists at the State Department's Foreign Press Centre on Wednesday, Admiral Mullen said while the prognosis for even more bloodshed in Afghanistan may be difficult to accept, the long-term solution would require the U.S. to support an Afghan political process that would include reconciliation with Taliban fighters who broke off with the Al-Qaeda.

Emphasising a political solution over a military one to the region's problems, Admiral Mullen said U.S. forces remained committed to a “conditions-based withdrawal of American forces in July of 2011 with a goal endorsed by NATO in the Lisbon Summit of being able to fully transition security responsibilities to Afghan forces by 2014”.