WASHINGTON - Although the war in Iraq has reached a point where prospects for the future look good, a top US general says the situation in Afghanistan is likely to get worse before it gets better. On top of that, Lt Gen Douglas Lute said in a speech to the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville, Florida, that Pakistan - home to three different insurgency groups - is likely to be an even more difficult challenge for President Barack Obama in years to come. Lute has overseen the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since May 2007, when President George W Bush appointed him deputy national security adviser for those areas, a position dubbed "the war czar." "We are beginning to see the big boom potential of Iraq - when business people in this room and beyond think it's stable enough to invest capital in Iraq," he said during the speech at the University of North Florida. On Afghanistan, he said, "It is not because the enemy, the Taliban, is strong, it's because the government of Afghanistan is so weak." "When faced with an alternative - which looks like chaos, which looks like death threats, which looks like the inability of the government to rule, a government rife with corruption - a bit of order in that dark life begins to make sense," the general said. "Afghan people doubt our commitment. They don't think we have the staying power." To succeed there, Lute said, America has to look for "the Afghan solution." The country has never been totally controlled from the capital, for example, so trying to make that happen is unlikely to work. Instead, Lute said, the NATO forces in the country have to help tribal leaders - the traditional power in many parts of the country - connect with the national government in a way that brings long-term stability. "We have got to go with the flow and swim with the current in Afghanistan," Lute said. AFP adds: US Defence Secretaryy Robert Gates said on Tuesday it was far too early to set a date for the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan, where Nato faces a growing insurgency. "We would all like to have a situation in which our mission in Afghanistan has been completed and we can bring our troops home. I do not see that happening anytime in the near future," Gates told a news conference with his French counterpart, Herve Morin. Meanwhile, US Vice-President Joe Biden will travel to Brussels next week to hold talks with Nato allies and top officials on Afghanistan and Pakistan, the White House said Tuesday. Biden will hold consultations with the Natorth Atlantic Council, the political and decision-making body of the alliance's 26 member states, his office said in a statement. "The purpose of his trip is to consult with allies on Afghanistan and Pakistan and to ensure that their views help inform the strategic review ordered by President Obama," the statement said. "The vice president also will meet with Nato chief, with senior leaders of the European Union and with officials of the Belgian govt." The administration is conducting a review of policy on Afghanistan, which includes the US ally's ties with neighbouring Pakistan, which is intended to be complete before Obama attends the NATO summit in early April.