There are no plans to deploy US ground troops to Pakistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said today, despite concerns over increasing violence between Pakistani troops and Taliban militants. Speaking to about 300 Marines at Camp Leatherneck in southern Afghanistan, Gates assured the soldiers they didn't have to "worry about going to Pakistan."
Gates also told the Marines that the Pentagon was working on getting troops more time at home between deployments in battle zones. Brig. Gen. John Nicholson, the top US commander in southern Afghanistan, told reporters that he expects to see an increase of violence in Afghanistan this summer. "This will be a spike, not an upward slope," he said, because as US-led forces try to secure areas, insurgents are going to try to push back.