Washington, Jan 13 (Agencies): Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speculates increase in the level of violence in Afghanistan this year with more bloodshed and a greater number of casualties.

"As difficult as it may be to accept, we must prepare ourselves for more violence and more casualties in coming months.

"Over the long term we must work to support an Afghan political process that includes reconciliation with Taliban who break with al-Qaida, renounce violence and accept the Afghan constitution," Mullen said.

"The US forces remain committed to beginning 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.

"Our military presence will diminish, as it should, but the partnership between our two nations will endure," he added.

Mullen said the implementation of the Afghan strategy announced by US President Barack Obama, early this year was on track.

Mullen, who visited Kandahar, a couple of weeks ago, said the enemy is being pushed out of population centers.