"Having said that, President Karzai is the first-- to state publicly that more needs to be done," Petraeus said.
Petraeus said the next major assessment of the strategy would come not during President Obama's review, but at a NATO summit in mid-November, where a discussion for the "prospects for transition" will take place.
What metaphor would Petraeus use for to describe the war effort? He pointed to a Frederick Remington print on the wall of his office in Kabul, called "The Stampede".
"If you look at that print, you'll see that there's a cowboy and he's trying to keep up with this herd that is flat out for glory across very rocky soil."
"There's a lightning bolt coming in from the sky. That might be an enemy attack, a tasker from higher headquarters, who knows what? It's raining sideways. The stormy -- sky and clouds and so forth. And -- you know, the brim of his hat is back, he's galloping so rapidly. And I said, 'This is our experience. We're all outriders. There's a few of us that are trail bosses. The cattle, if you will, are sort of the tasks. Getting the cattle to the destination means that you've accomplished various missions along the way. I note that some of the cattle who get out ahead of us, and that's okay, we'll catch up with them."
"Some will fall behind, we'll go back and get them. There will be casualties along the way. There are bad guys out there trying to kill us and to kill the cattle and so forth. And again, it's a metaphorical image-- that I have used to describe again that I am reasonably comfortable with a somewhat chaotic situation, at times. And I think that helps, certainly, in a job like this one."
ABC News' Richard Coolidge contributed to this story.