08 Mar '11, 8pm

Gates sees 'acid test' ahead in Afghanistan war

Gates sees 'acid test' ahead in Afghanistan war

SANGIN, Afghanistan: US Defence Secretary Robert Gates touted progress on a visit to southern Afghanistan on Tuesday but said NATO forces will soon face an "acid test" as Taliban insurgents move to seize back ground. In a tour of volatile battlegrounds, Gates said he came away encouraged that coalition and Afghan forces were rolling back the Taliban from longstanding strongholds in Kandahar and Helmand provinces. But he said results of the NATO-led campaign would not be clear for a few more months, when the Taliban is expected to exploit warmer weather to strike back. Gates' visit comes before foreign troops are due to start limited withdrawals from July, handing control of security to Afghan forces in some areas ahead of a full transition across Afghanistan due by 2014. Afghan President Hamid Karzai meanwhile warned the year ahead was "critical" and would hold "crises and...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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