In a blunt assessment of the war in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal declared in a TV interview Thursday that "nobody is winning," though he also pointed to progress in stopping the momentum of insurgents.
The assessment by McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, comes a day after President Obama, while hosting Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the White House, predicted the war will get worse before it gets better.
McChrystal was responding to a question posed in an interview that aired on PBS' "News Hour."
"I think I would be prepared to say nobody is winning, at this point," McChrystal said. "Where the insurgents, I think, felt that they had momentum a year ago, felt that they were making clear progress, I think that's stopped."
Now it is the U.S. and Afghan forces that have "made a lot of progress," he said.
"I think the insurgency is serious. And it's serious because it has a relative reach around the country ... so it can bring a lot of violence on the Afghan people. It's also not popular."
U.S. and Afghan forces are coming off the relative success of a major offensive in the Taliban stronghold of Marjah intended to sweep the enemy out of that region and restore stability to the local population. A similar approach is planned later this year for Kandahar.
On Wednesday, Obama spoke with Karzai at his side.
"What I've tried to emphasize is the fact that there is going to be some hard fighting over the next several months," Obama told reporters in the White House after meeting with Karzai in the Oval Office.
"There is no denying the progress," Obama said. "Nor, however, can we deny the very serious challenges still facing Afghanistan."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.