Gates Cautious In Afghan Meetings

March 8, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - - On a day which featured a suicide bombing attempt and gun battle in the Eastern Afghan town of Khost, U.S. Secty of Defense Gates made his first post-surge visit to the troubled country.

Appearing at a joint media event with president Karzai, Gates warned of tough times and "dark days" as the struggle to defeat al-Qaeda and the Taliban escalates saying, "There is still much fighting ahead, and there will assuredly be some dark days. But looking forward there are grounds for optimism..." [source, Al Jazeera,]

Gates also met with the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, who refused to apply a timetable to the pushback operation, saying that forces should be ready to go sometime in early summer and that there will be no identifiable D-Day as the operation ramps up.

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