How long will U.S. forces be in Afghanistan? It’s a mystery…
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says it’s no secret how long U.S. forces will be in Afghanistan.
“In the intelligence business, we always used to categorize information … in two ways: secrets and mysteries,” the former CIA boss told a briefing Thursday.
Yup, you guessed it. How long U.S. forces will be in Afghanistan falls into the mysteries category.
“I think that we are certainly hoping to see progress within a year, in terms of … the president’s new strategy and General (Stanley) McChrystal’s new strategy and tactics,” Gates said.
The defense secretary said he would like to see the situation moving in the direction seen in Iraq in recent years, with Baghdad able to take more and more responsibility for its own security.
General James Cartwright, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, echoed that thought, saying the situation would be moving in the right direction when Afghan police and army could begin taking on security roles.
How long that takes will depend on the Afghan political environment and on how long it takes to train the country’s security forces, Gates said.
Therein lies the mystery.
Photo credit: Reuters/jason Reed (Gates flies in helicopter over Kandahar in May)