US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has hinted at further possible troop increases in Afghanistan.
A military surge aimed at stemming the Taliban tide is already underway but Gates appeared to tone down his long-standing concerns over a larger US footprint in Afghanistan. He also said that America was not losing its grip on the war. “I absolutely do not think it is time to get out of Afghanistan. And, I think the notion that you can conduct a purely counter-terrorist kind of campaign and do it from a distance simply does not accord with reality. I don’t believe that the war is slipping through the administration’s fingers. I think what is important is for us to be able to show, over the months to come, that the president’s strategy is succeeding,” Gates said. A review of the war in Afghanistan by US Army General Stanley McChrystal has intensified debate in Washington on whether to send additional troops. That decision could come as early as next week when Gates is set to hold talks with President Obama.