KABUL, AFGHANISTAN: US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Wednesday that he was convinced the war in Afghanistan was on the right track as he toured the country to assess Washington’s strategy for reversing the Taliban’s momentum. At a joint news conference with the President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai in Kabul, Gates said he was confident that progress had been made since 30,000 extra troops were deployed in Taliban strongholds the southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces.
“As I return to Washington the United States government will be finishing work on an evaluation of the situation here, and I will go back convinced that our strategy is working and we will be able to achieve the key goals laid out by President Obama last year, further embraced by NATO heads of state in Lisbon that is for Afghan forces to begin taking the security leads they have in Kabul in more and more areas in the coming year and for the afghan government to take the lead for security responsibility for all of Afghanistan by the end of 2014,” said Gates.
The U.S. administration of Barack Obama plans to complete its review if the Afghanistan war strategy some time next week. Officials have said that the review is aimed at refining the strategy and they do not expect major shifts. Obama has pledged to start handing over security control to Afghan forces in July 2011.
At a Lisbon summit last month the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation endorsed Karzai’s call for the e transition to be completed by the end of 2014.-Reuters