The Stars and Stripes flew at half-staff Monday at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, marking six months since the devastating Sept. 11 attacks that prompted the war here in Afghanistan.

Embassy personnel gathered at the flag at the end of the day while U.S. Marine guards held a simple ceremony, lowering the flag as a bugle sounded in the background.

Acting U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker thanked the employees for their "sustained efforts" and, in a reference to Sept. 11, said: "Never again, never again."

"We've won the war," he said. "We have to win the peace."

Crocker said that he was flying into New York during the Sept. 11 attacks and from his airplane seat saw one of the World Trade Center towers in flames.

"It means a lot to me to be on the other side of ground zero," he said.

"There is no question about the outcome" of the current U.S. campaign to rout out Taliban and Al Qaeda holdouts in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, he said.

"We are going to obliterate the Taliban and Al Qaeda."