Gates: Some troops could leave Afghanistan early

Gates: Some troops could leave Afghanistan early

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates raised the possibility Wednesday that some of the U.S. forces involved in the Afghanistan surge could leave the country before President Barack Obama's announced July 2011 date to begin withdrawal, AP reported.

Without giving specifics, Gates said, "It would have to be conditions-based."

Gates made the remarks during a visit to a dust-blown training ground in Kabul province where Afghan soldiers come for weeks of training under U.S. and British instruction. British Brigadier Simon Levy told Gates that if NATO countries contribute more trainers, the project to expand the Afghan army will keep pace.

In a press conference with Gates, Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said his country is ashamed to have foreigners assuming its defense, and eager to take over the job. He referred repeatedly to the goal of some handover of responsibility by the fall of next year. The goal is to expand the Afghan Natonal Army to 171,000 by then, and the police force to 134,000.

"I hope by that time we will be able to have the responsibility for the physical security of the country in different regions," Wardak said. "That process will continue as we go further and the numbers increase and our capabilites increase."

Gates said, "We will begin that transition no later than July of 2011, but the pace will depend also on conditions on the ground."

Still, the Pentagon chief said, "We should not be too impatient."

Gates watched as Afghan troops dealt with a simulated roadside bomb explosion. He stood on an embankment above the road as Afghan soldiers leapt out of a convoy, tended to casualties and contained the explosive.

He said he was very impressed by what he saw.

"Although attention may be focused on operations in the south today, the training that is going on at this facility for the long term is even more important," he said. "At the end of the day, only Afghans will be able to provide long-term security for Afghanistan."

U.S. forces are engaged in a major offensive against Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan. Gates visited some of those troops Tuesday.

Reporters also asked Gates about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Afghanistan on Wednesday.

"It's certainly bothersome," he said. "We think Afghanistan should have good relations with all of its neighbors, but we also want all of Afghanistan's neighbors to play an up-front game in dealing with the government of Afghanistan."

Gates has accused Tehran of "playing a double game" in Afghanistan by trying to woo the Afghan government while undermining U.S. and NATO efforts by helping the Taliban.

In a press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul on Wednesday, Ahmadinejad responded that it was the United States that was playing a "double game."

"They themselves created terrorists and now they're saying that they are fighting terrorists," Ahmadinejad said.

"Your country is located on the other side of the world, so what are you doing here?" he asked.

Turkmenistan prepares project for intellectual property system dev’t
Turkmenistan prepares project for intellectual property system dev’t
Azerbaijan's High-Tech Park records new resident companies
Azerbaijan's High-Tech Park records new resident companies
Use of electronic state services in Azerbaijan grows
Use of electronic state services in Azerbaijan grows
Loading Bars
Latest
Representatives of Kyrgyzstan take part in XVIII meeting of CSTO ICMEC
Britain records 16,022 new coronavirus cases, 521 new deaths
Azerbaijani gymnasts reach finals of 36th European Championship in Rhythmic Gymnastics in Ukraine
Turkish political parties condemn French Senate’s resolution on Karabakh
World Maritime University, Georgia aim to develop maritime education, capacity-building activities
Georgia makes giant strides in transposition of energy efficiency acquis
Cash receipts from Azerbaijan to Georgia increases
Number of debit cards in Azerbaijan increases
Uzbekistan increases raisins export to Netherlands
Georgia to subsidize wheat flour price
IAEA to implement multiple projects in Georgia
Uzbekistan, Hungary consider establishing Uzbek-Hungarian Business Council
Uzbekistan confirms repayment schedules on ADB loan for solid waste cleaning
Percentage of problem loans in Azerbaijan down
Eni Turkmenistan Ltd opens tender for vehicles provision
Tree-planting campaign continues in Azerbaijan's Gubadli (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan raises commercial gas production
COVID-related quarantine may be strengthened in Kazakhstan in December
German Bundestag welcoming cessation of hostilities in Karabakh for sustainable peace
Spain names main Turkmen sectors of its interest
Iran to follow FATF-related bills
French Development Agency puts emphasis on increasing solar and wind capacity integration in Georgia
Putin to hold annual press conference via video link on December 17
Share of Austria in total import of Azerbaijan increases
Kazakhstan, Canada discuss prospects for agriculture co-op
Iranian Aras Free Trade Zone reveals its trade surplus
Modernization of primary gas treatment unit carried out at Uzbek oil field
Ambassador of Mexico meets with Azerbaijani Acting Minister of Culture
Azerbaijan supplying drinking water to liberated Shusha city (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan consistently works to strengthen regional cooperation - MFA
Azerbaijan's import of chemical products from Turkey up
Conflicts, external aggression threaten peace, security - Azerbaijani FM (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani Minister of Economy receives Qatari ambassador (PHOTO)
Iran's industrial cities work at minimum capacity
U.S. agency opens probe into 115,000 Tesla vehicles over suspension issue
Turkey discloses Istanbul Airport's ten-month passenger traffic volume
Japan ruling party proposal backs assistance for COVID-hit airlines
Iran's Social Security Organization to forgive insurance fines of employers
Elbit Systems wins Spanish Army radio deal
Putin meets RSC members to discuss Russian peacekeepers' activities in Karabakh
Uzbek metallurgical plant switches to int’l financial reporting standards
New company established in Azerbaijan's Sumgayit city
Iran to close public offices amid COVID-19
Volume of industrial lending in Azerbaijan grows
Azerbaijani 'Maestro Niyazi' dry-cargo ship repaired and tested
France-24 TV channel broadcasts reportage about liberated Fuzuli district of Azerbaijan (VIDEO)
Small state enterprises, vehicles to be auctioned in Azerbaijan
Uzbek Ministry of Finance eyes setting excise tax on sugar imports
New electronic services to be introduced in Turkmenistan's banking system
Oil bitumen imports decrease to Georgia
10M2020 cargo, passenger traffic in Turkish Esenboga Airport drops
Discovery of Turkmen scientists expected to make unique contribution to healthcare system on global scale
Azerbaijan detects 3,712 new COVID-19 cases, 1,359 recoveries
World to need at least 1.1 trillion barrels of hydrocarbons over next 20 years
Kazakhstan decreases crude petroleum oil supplies to Netherlands
Number of construction enterprises, organizations in Uzbekistan up
Central Bank of Azerbaijan reveals data on population's deposits
Georgia sees decrease in import of aviation fuel
Oil & gas industry is not at risk of being starved of capital
Nearly half of bank deposits in Azerbaijan made in foreign currency, says CBA
Turkmen Health Ministry opens tender for medical supplies purchase
Iran Parliament speaker obliges gov't to implement “People's Livelihood Protection Act” as soon as possible
Luxury hotels to be created in Nagorno-Karabakh region
Azerenerji OJSC implementing essential project in Karabakh, adjacent districts
Gold, silver prices in Azerbaijan down
Kazakhstan's Kazatomprom sees threefold increase in profits
Turkey's VP talks current defense-related projects
Iran to join several countries in coronavirus vaccine development
Cybersecurity - one of main objectives of Georgia - Energy Community Secretariat report
UNDP office in Uzbekistan to buy agricultural equipment via tender
Central Bank of Azerbaijan plans to raise funds at deposit auction
Azerbaijan's Central Bank reveals year-on-year data on lending to household sector
Facebook cryptocurrency Libra to launch as early as January but scaled back
“Investment Treaty” intensively negotiated between Georgia and Japan
ACG oil transshipment from Ceyhan terminal exceeds 190 million barrels
Turkmenistan prepares project for intellectual property system dev’t
Prime Minister Modi inaugurates RE-Invest 2020
TAP is operational and can deliver gas, says managing director
Uzbek Anti-Crisis Fund expenses up due to extended COVID-9 resistance
Ruling coalition in Germany stands for Berlin’s participation in promoting peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
Azerbaijani gymnasts in group exercises reach final of European Championship in Ukraine
Azerbaijan's labor ministry, Azermash Group LLC sign tender contract
Iran reduces imports of chemicals from Turkey
Plastic cards becoming more popular in Kazakhstan
Turkish Ombudsman Institution prepares special report on Armenia's war crimes against Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Turkmenistan prepares project aimed at developing energy diplomacy
Uzbekistan’s 10M2020 production of chemical products revealed
Azerbaijan Insurers Association calls on citizens to annually renew insurance contracts
Russian Tatneft eyeing butadiene production in co-op with Kazakhstan
ICAO to include Azerbaijan's three airfields in new list of int'l geographical coordinates
Georgia becomes most popular exporter of Uzbek beans
Construction of new water reservoirs in Uzbekistan to improve water supply of land areas
Azerbaijan's ten-month import of grains, legumes from Turkey up
Turkish TPAO to expand oil, gas exploration zone
Azerbaijani TS Motors LLC wins tender on tire purchases
Georgia sees record increase in COVID-19 cases
Turkmen State Service of Maritime and River Transportation working to attract foreign investment
Gas market concept under discussion in Georgia
French Senate Resolution is blow to French interests in South Caucasus - Center for Economic Reforms Analysis
Direct flights on the Baku-Minsk route to be resumed
All news