US expects signs of progress in Afghan war `by end of year`
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said on Wednesday he expected to see signs of progress "by the end of the year" in the NATO-led war in Afghanistan, despite mounting casualties.
London: US Defence Secretary Robert Gates
said on Wednesday he expected to see signs of progress "by the end of
the year" in the NATO-led war in Afghanistan, despite mounting
Speaking in London, Gates said the commander of NATO
forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, "is pretty
confident that by the end of the year he will be able to point
to sufficient progress that validates the strategy and
also justifies continuing to work at this".
But he cautioned that there were "no illusions" about
quick victories and that there was a difficult struggle ahead,
warning it would be "tough summer" battling Taliban
Underscoring the rising violence in Afghanistan, military
officers in Kabul said four NATO soldiers were killed today
when their helicopter was shot down by hostile fire in the
southern Afghan province of Helmand.
Gates said the United States and its allies were under
pressure to show some success in the war, now in its ninth
year, noting that US voters would not accept an open-ended
"stalemate" with soldiers dying.
In talks with Britain`s new defence secretary, Liam Fox,
Gates said there was "general agreement... that all of us, for
our publics, are going to have show by the end of the year
that our strategy is on the right track and making