Gates Surveys US War in Afghanistan

'Not worried about a back slide' despite rise in attacks, he says
By Michael O'Connor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 3, 2007 8:26 PM CST
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(Newser) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates landed in Afghanistan today to size up areas where attacks have recently doubled and suicide bombings spiked 30%, Reuters reports. He was upbeat despite a Pentagon admission that al-Qaeda is helping Taliban forces to recover. "I'm not worried about a back slide as much as I am how we continue the momentum going forward," he said.

Gates plans to discuss funding for Afghan troops and police on the trip; he will also consider arming local militia to combat the Taliban, a strategy similar to one used to fight al-Qaeda in Iraq. Later this month, Gates will fly to Scotland and meet officials from countries that have soldiers in Afghanistan's south, the most war-torn region in the country.