'Slow but steady' progress in Afghanistan, Obama told



`Slow but steady` progress in Afghanistan, Obama told Washington: American generals have told US President Barack Obama that they were making slow but steady progress in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan.

"I think the phrase that General (Stanley) McChrystal specifically used was, the progress has been slow but steady. I anticipate that that is likely what we'll see for the remainder of the year," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said after Obama met the national security team for his monthly Situation Room meeting.

General McChrystal, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, briefed the President and his team through a video-conference on the ground realities in Afghanistan and the progress being made there.

"As we do in all of these meetings, they went through where we are in building an Afghan national security force, which is comprised of an Afghan national Army and an Afghan national police, both of which were ever so slightly ahead of the goals, and that the force flow of our additional troops moving into Afghanistan was on pace, which is obviously something that has been of great concern to the President," Gibbs said.

Noting that Obama was satisfied with the progress made in Afghanistan, the spokesman said that the President was "under no illusions" that it would take time in achieving the task there.

"There are a whole host of issues, not just military, but issues surrounding governance that we're working through, so I think slow and steady is largely to be what's expected."

McChrystal's briefing lasted for more than 20 minutes in the meeting that was held for more than an hour. Obama's top advisors on counter-terrorism issues also used the opportunity to brief him and his team on the latest developments related to the Times Square bomb case, in which a Pakistani-American has been arrested and the links of the unsuccessful plot now goes to Pakistan.

Gibbs said the US is satisfied with the cooperation rendered by Pakistan in this regard.

"If you look back over the course of 15 or 16 months of our administration, we have dramatically increased our partnership with Pakistan, intense security cooperation, supporting Pakistan's largest offencive against terrorism within its borders in years, an offencive that is focused not just on al Qaeda, but on the Pakistani Taliban, as well," he added.

PTI