Gates Cites Progress in Afghanistan Despite New Insurgent Tactics

Gates Cites Progress in Afghanistan Despite New Insurgent Tactics

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday reaffirmed the United States' long-term commitment to rebuilding Afghanistan and hailed "real progress" made by NATO forces this year against the Taliban insurgency, despite rising violence in the southern and eastern provinces and the arrival of deadly Iranian-made weapons.

Gates, on his second visit to the country since taking the helm of the Pentagon, said that after a round of talks with President Hamid Karzai, NATO commanders and other Afghan officials involved in training the national army, he believes the security situation has improved in recent months.

"The Afghan alliance offensive has put the Taliban off their game and I think that's been an important success this spring. The key is to sustain that," he told reporters at a joint press conference with Karzai at the presidential palace.

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