March 10th, 2010
07:13 AM ET

Gates ends Afghanistan trip as Iran's Ahmadinejad begins his

KABUL, Afghanistan - After surveying training camps in eastern Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates hinted Wednesday that U.S. troops could be leaving earlier than the announced July 2011 troop withdrawal date.

Without giving details, Gates said that any early pullout and hand over of control to Afghan forces "would have to be conditions-based."

"We will begin that transition no later than July 2011, but the pace will depend also on conditions on the ground," Gates said after watching training exercises at Camp Blackhorse, where Afghan soldiers are trained by U.S. and British forces.

President Barack Obama ordered the deployment of 30,000 extra U.S. forces to Afghanistan this year, increasing the total U.S. troop commitment to almost 100,000, while at least 25 other countries have pledged another 7,000 troops.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has said Obama's additional goal to begin withdrawing U.S. troops in July 2011 will force Afghan officials to take the lead on ensuring their country's security.

The U.S. hope is to grow the Afghan National Security Forces to their authorized size of 170,000 soldiers and 134,000 police by the pullout date.

Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, who accompanied Gates on the tour of Camp Blackhorse, said he was confident Afghan forces would stand up to the task.

"We have demonstrated that capability throughout the history," he said, adding that much would depend on a strong government and the ability to provide essential services.

Gates thanked the Afghan soldiers for their service.

"We will be your steadfast brothers in arms and friends," he said, concluding a two-day unannounced visit to Afghanistan.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was also in Afghanistan on Wednesday with a pledge to purge "occupying forces" from the troubled land. "Iran has innovative plans for resolving ongoing problems in Afghanistan and the withdrawal of the occupying forces from the country," Ahmadinejad said ahead of landing in Afghanistan, Iran's state-run Press TV reported.

Gates has accused Iran of "playing a double game" by befriending Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government while secretly aiding Taliban fighters.

Gates said he told Karzai that Afghanistan ought to have good regional relations but Afghanistan's neighbors must play an upfront game.

Gates' visited Afghanistan as NATO-led coalition forces are pressing an offensive against Taliban forces around the town of Marjah in southern Helmand province.

Dubbed Operation Moshtarak, the offensive was launched in February by an international coalition of 15,000 troops, including Afghans, Americans, Britons, Canadians, Danes and Estonians.

soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. b.k.a.s.

    About time they declare pulling out of troops. What was accomplished by this? More damage and destruction. Debt for the Afghans and the USA. What a STUPID and pointless war. The fact that it even got this far is sickening. No US troops should have even been sent there and no US troops should ever go there again. You want a war on terror? "Terrorism" is everywhere, not in only Afghanistan or Iraq. "Terror' is in the USA, UK, Mexico, Norway, Germany, etc. IT'S EVERYWHERE. I don't see US troops being sent out to the rest of the world...

    July 18, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TD

    Look at them 2 guys. They look so out of place, with their spit polished shoes, white shirts, ties, suits. I guess it's as out of place as the lame strategy of Robert Gates, who just happens to be in the picture.

    March 25, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Holtz

    Let them deal with their own country! this is getting out of hand! So many innocent Soldiers have given their lives over there.... havent we done enough?? Maybe no one has noticed but our country has some issues of its own... lets address our issues first!?? AND Bring My Marine Home!!!!

    March 25, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. claire

    As I read over these comments, I am appalled at the lack of confidence and respect that these Americans show. If you do have concerns, read more about the counter-insurgency plan and what the tactics that we are taking now are all about. It is a step in the right direction and has the possibility of changing our approach to all wars. We are not at war against Afghanistan, we are there to help the Afghanis become empowered enough to be able to control their own destiny. By supporting their efforts to provide education, security and some basics, which were lost during the Soviet War, it puts the future of these proud and capable people back on a level playing field. Learn more about the history of Afghanistan, the counter-insurgency plan, and keep up with the progress that we are making, before offering your criticism. Thanks, and May Peace be with you also,

    March 22, 2010 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ron Robtoy

    I would like to seee all our troops come back home sooner than later.I don't think we should be in this war in the first place.I think the american people were told a bunch of damn lies and the president fell for them.I blame alot of this on Donald Rumsfeld,He told the lies and the president bought them.I think the minute that Donald opend his dumb ass mouth he should have been booted out of office.

    Ok now just get thew troops home safe and sound!

    thanx!

    March 17, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. annonymous

    This is just an opinion of mine, after doing 2 deployments on the ground in "afghan" seeing how the people respond to US troops and the "help" we are providing. I can honestly say that the media is portraying a cool calm atmosphere over there that doesnt exist. As soon as we pull out things are going to go back to the way they were before. They are set on self destruction. I say pull out sooner then the projected date and stop delaying the inevitable!!!

    March 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jackson

    Grow up people....war is hell...war is long...and war is costly. In WWII, we had a known enemy in a known country and it took 5 years, millions of lives and a lot of money. Now, we are fighting an ideology that is perverse in it's nature and on the internet, aka, across the world. So, rather than have them do again what they did on 9/11, we go to their backyard and let them come out and play....and die. Has any one of you 'preachers' ever served your country, especially in a combat zone? If you haven't, then shut-up, for you know not what you speak of. If you have, my utmost respect and admiration go to you.

    March 15, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. stillhere33

    Dont just pull us out, we should push for a more infrastructural mission in Afghanistan, at least give them something to remember us positively by other than the scarred land.contrary to common opinion they still need us there, and they need us bad. we leave as soon as is projected and they face a quick and most likely successful coup. Keep your heads down brothers.

    March 14, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. D-VON

    We are in afghanistan for a reason...we are a country known for helping out those in need...how can people support the fight in haiti but not the fight in afghanistan we are helping these guys out here so that the problem that happened on sept. 11, 2001 does not happen again! If we were to pullout now we would not be solving ne problems it would probably just lead to more problems further on down the road. We need to stay here until the problem is solved! Once it is resolved then we will know that is the time to pullout, but as of right now we need to be here to give these people their country back, give them there land back, and give them their freedom back!!!

    March 14, 2010 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. Daniel

    Since Hamid Karzai is already bought and paid for,Ahmedinajad doesn't have a chance.Now Gen.Stanley McChrystal will bask in glory as the right-wing news media touts all his "glorious" victories and a whole slew of war profiteers will later move in to reap the spoils of war at the misery of the people and leave Afghanistan firmly under Western domination.

    March 13, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. johnsnow75

    Gates is keeping America great and trying to help the best he can may GOD be with all America!

    March 13, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hamid

    The USA troops now are inAfghanistan and fighting agaisnt Taliban Regime and want to trackle them from the country.
    I think it is very difficult to bring peace and security in Afghanistan because there is no cooperation among Pakistan Afghanistan and the Nato troops, All of them have thier own aims in Afghanistan so the pakistan goernment try to bring the Taliban regime in power and Iran wants to bring Mujahhiden and .....................

    March 13, 2010 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. John

    I'm in the military. Immediate pullout is not the answer. People say it will save money but it will cost a fortune. Why not build their soldiers up to a higher quality like we are doing until the time is right. I have lost enough friends, but I will be going there in 3 months, without question. It is my duty, I signed up I know the consequences. I do not blame any administration because the bottom line is these people have amazing potential and those children should have every chance to reach their dreams just like children in America. My only fault with our government is that we have the worst propaganda campaign. How come we fight and die over there and hardly ever are hero stories told? Why is it that our news stations are so party driven? Before the last surge of troops that everyone new was going to happen CNN was broadcasting against troops in Afghanistan, a couple weeks before the final decision there are multiple interviews with Afghans saying we should be there. Its terrible that I feel I get the best source of news from a station not even American based BBC. They are not one sided. People need to go there and see for themselves before they talk, and a troop pullout...that means special ops will still be there. Its unfortunate but there will never be a day where all our soldiers are home, thats just realistic.

    March 12, 2010 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
  14. internet

    Ah! This is perfect! Thanks for dispelling a few
    confusion I have heard regarding this as of late.

    March 11, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. me

    some people do not understand what it takes to secure our national security and everyones way of life in america as we know it.

    March 11, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Ralph

    The US has started something that they only have opinions to get
    out of. This is not like WW2, and we are defeating an enemy that
    has the will to take over the world. And when we defeated them, just come home.

    NO_NO_ We jumped in it , and have been playing it by ear since.
    But there is one thing for sure. If we leave now, Iran will have alot of land to take over. They will be the power player for sure.

    That will have to be our last plan–Take out the rouge leaders in Iran,
    and let the Young People there have a chance at Democracy. And let them run there own country.I believe there are some peace loving people in that country.

    March 11, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  17. cad

    We need to bring our troops home and guard our own country from illegals and terrorist. Use our armed forces to secure the borders and police all incoming traffic. No other country is willing to sacrifice the number of troops that our president/presidents are willing to sacrifice for other countries. We have already lost 1000 good men to these wars. So do we really need to be there? Does it take 100,000 to train their people. Train enough leaders to train the rest of their troops. We cant keep pouring out our money and men while our own country is in recession and starving. There is a problem here.

    March 11, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Sayan Majumdar

    Pulling out of United States and NATO troops from Afghanistan will be an immeasurable blunder at this moment and such an action will allow regroup of terrorist groups to initiate intermittent yet potent strikes across the globe.

    However to ensure rapid victory in Afghanistan the United States and NATO troops need to operate deep inside its eastern neighbour Pakistan, which has emerged as epicentre of international terrorism, mere drone strikes at the peripheral regions will only pay marginal dividends.

    Sayan.

    March 11, 2010 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
  19. Vince

    When GWB declared war on terror, I though to myself..... How is he going to do that? Where are the terrorists? What a joke.

    March 11, 2010 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
  20. Ronald Marks

    It will be interesting to see how many schools, hospitals and roads the Iranians build for the Afghans, and how many election monitors they send to support international oversight of free elections.

    March 11, 2010 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  21. michael benson

    All of you are liberal idiots. support the troops but let them stay there and finish the job, not pull the out. Obama's plan to pull them out is RIDICULOUS. This is why a president should have military experience, so he understands, and this is also why you people shouldn't comment on this story. we're doing the right thing over there.

    March 11, 2010 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  22. Merle Terlesky

    Finally CNN mentions us Canadians who have the second highest KIA rate apart from US troops. We are all together in this NATO action. Canada is just not mentioned very much in US media.
    Together victorious!

    March 11, 2010 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  23. A. Smith, Oregon

    Its almost a laughing matter for historians to see Gates and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pointing fingers at one another in regards to supplying arms and explosives to the Taliban. Ahmadinejad states it was the US led CIA, and Gates states it is Iran.

    Meanwhile it seems utterly clear the Taliban go to Pakistan to buy their weapons, stock up on supplies and explosives and return to the battlefield in Afghanistan, precisely as they had done previously in the war against Russia in Afghanistan.

    If Pakistan wasn't a dance partner supplying the Taliban with weapons and explosives, the Taliban would very quickly exhaust their equipment and supplies.

    Did US Defense Secretary Robert Gates deliver the 500 Million taxpayer dollar bribe that was being asked by the Taliban for peace?

    With the recent election in Iraq and the removal of Iran's greatest enemy (Saddam), it appears America has handed Iraq to Iran on a silver platter. I guess as long as the Big Oil companies have signed new major oil field leases in Iraq, that is all that mattered. AND just as likely one of the reasons America invaded Iraq in the first place, for its OIL.

    March 10, 2010 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Mobius007

    Wow, I consider myself liberal, but I really can't believe the far-left comments posted here. Muslim radicalism was spawned in the Afgan/Pakistan region, and we are pissing on that fire. Soon, god willing, it will be out, and the world can get back to the important business of "the pursuit of happiness".

    For any troops out there who are reading the other posts, ignore them. America supports you, and your families and friends love you. Now, let's wrap this thing up, and get you home.

    March 10, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  25. DJBALL

    It's too bad Bush invaded the wrong country bankrupting America and weakening the military to avenge his Daddy and secure oil contracts for his greasy friends.
    Let's not forget the White House purposefully stopped US Special Forces from killing Bin Laden and letting him escape at Tora Bora to keep the boogeyman myth alive.
    People mention 911 here like we actually know what happened that day when the Commissioners themselves are on record stating they don't know the whole truth and that they were stonewalled,underfunded and lied to.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Paul

    I blame religion entirely for the whole middle east mess. It's called reality people, you're supposed to live in it.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  27. john

    It amazes me how so many narrow minded hypocrites continue to blame Bush for everything. The truth of the matter is we were a safer country under his stubborn, arrogant watch. Now we are the laughing stock of the world and we will have to deal with the diabolical IRAN. I have a brother who is serving his fourth tour in Iraq/Afghanistan and he says it is a worth while mission and cause. I suggest those who have not shouldered a rifle and walked the walk to shut up and let our trained soldiers and commanders do their jobs. Thank you to all the awesome soldiers who keep safe our country and freedom.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Gary

    I definitely don't want to have the troops there any longer than necessary but isn't this sending the absolute wrong message in relation to the current strategy just as we're having major successes?

    As I understand it, the linchpin of the current plan is to win the support of the Afghans that are local to the areas where we're pushing out the Taliban. A huge part of winning that support is in convincing the locals that we're not just going to abandon them shortly after taking back the territory, thereby leaving them at the mercy of the Taliban who will surely seek retaliation. The Afghan forces are nowhere close to being able to defend these areas and anyone who claims they will be by mid-2011 is either delusional or lying.

    I know that there's a tricky political balancing act being done in regards to public support, but this just seems self-defeating. Why risk any lives at all or expend scarce resources unless you're fully committed to a winning strategy? Either get out now or go all the way.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Mike

    @Rosslaw, just to be more accurate, President Cliinton cut the military by more than 40%, so by the time we had to fight two regional conflicts simultaneously (something our war doctrine said we needed to do) , we couldn't because of the cuts.

    March 10, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Zach

    Who wrote this article?

    March 10, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Devin

    Rosslaw fails to see that Obama ordering 51,000 troops is indeed ESCALATING the war in Afghanistan. Don't blame Bush for Obama sending more troops, for if he wanted to serve our best interests he would have withdrawn the troops on day one. The blood is now on his hands too. Sounds like he also needs a history lesson. What administration was responsible for the conflict in Vietnam?...you guessed it, LBJ: a democrat was given the power (which he used) with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed in 1964, which launched a full scale war in Vietnam.

    March 10, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Rusty

    Pull out or go broke , when is enough vengeance enough? Do people not realize what destruction these lie wars are having on our country?BOTH of the wars are for political reasons, The ONLY ones benefiting from these wars are the ones paying lobby dollars to supply the wars,,,and those who are collecting those lobby dollars,,,,,,NEITHER war is about defending America,,,Keep waving those flags,,,ALL the way to BANKRUPTCY.

    March 10, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Hyster

    I guess we're off to bring democracy to some other hapless country...

    March 10, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  34. runswithbeer

    The terrorists we are after that caused 9/11 (remember 9/11) are in Pakistan and there are just a handful of them left. We don't have much left to do in Afghanistan. The Afghan's need to run their own affairs, with a few Billion a year of our aid (but not troops..) We need to throw a bright spotlight on the real problem between Israel and Palestine. That's where world peace can be obtained.

    March 10, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Go get um!

    oh great – our boys die on the line winning at Marjah – and Obama the *ss has them withdraw so that he can give Afghanistan to his best friend – Ahmadinejad. I hope we get to try Obama soon for treason. It will eventually be proven out that he is not really an american, and he definitely doesn't give a cr*p about the US.

    March 10, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Brandon

    Freedom isnt free! We cannot sit back and just let these countries fester into ticking time bombs. Well....we can just be prepared for another 9/11 or something similar. There are things happening out in the world today that threaten the United States in ways 99% of us will never understand. What I do understand is we must Protect America from these regimes that we call terrorists at all costs. We cannot let that barrier down, becuase once we do we are screwed.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  37. fair is fair

    Why didn't the US just capture him. Blindfold him and parade him around a bunch of people saying death to Iran for 444 days.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Bilal Kb Wardak

    you obviously dont have a loved one in Afghanistan and anything to lose. Do you really think there isnt a better way to handle this than take control of a city that provides 90 percent of the worlds heroin? There is more to this war than you think...try attending ONE of the anti-war protest in San Fran. held one a month.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  39. SED

    We are deluding ourselves if we can have a traditonal victory in Afghanistan. I think Mr. Gates is a realist and if he hasn't already definded what victory will look like in this God forsaken country.

    Are there enemies of the USA residing in this country? You bet, but they also reside in Iran, Yeman, Somaolia, and unforntualtly back @ home.

    To pull our troops out now would not be prudent; however we need to trsut Mr. Gates and his judgment since he is a pragmatist and understands what can and can not be achived. He is clearly not a Mr. Rusfield who was so out of touch that one had to wonder about his mental state.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  40. lynnella

    Peace in 2010. End US military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan now.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Andrew

    Unlike Iraq, we are in Afghanistan for a real reason. I was at the WTC on 9/11, I saw first hand what our enemies in a-stan brought TO US. We have accomplished a lot on that front – a large number of Taliban (who supported bin laden) have been captured or killed. The terrorists residing openly there have been pushed back into their holes and their ability to launch attacks like 9/11 has been stemmed.

    Obviously we're having trouble rooting the terrorists out of their holes, but that doesn't mean it's not a worthwhile effort.

    As others have said the US lives lost there have been lost for a real reason. Simply pulling out because the US public has forgetted why we're there is an insult to those who have fought for us. We need to ensure that when we leave, we leave a stable country behind that will not revert to the terrorist-supporting, human-rights-negating, ignorant fanatics who will again allow bin laden to operate freely.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Douglas Burgess

    How can anyone say the Afghan problem is "their problem." Have you forgotten that the US was attacked by forces trained and based on Afghani soil? Do you think it could not happen again? You can't be serious. The Taliban and their friends, Al Qaeda, are our problem too my brothers.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Dude

    Their country, their problem? Pretty arrogant statement considering the US created the problem. Get your head out of the gutter and open up your mind. Bin Laden has lived up to his promises by bankrupting the US and will continue to do so... we need to stop being buffoons, acting like cowboys of the world and rebuild our own country through education and infrastructure investment.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  44. archedemos

    Who do you think is going to pay the salary of the Afghan 170,000 troops and 134,000 police.
    Afghanistan has no money. Of the countries mentioned, Canada is the only one liquid.
    You do the math, but there is only one big spender for military in the world today.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  45. John

    Send them into Iran! Thats where we need to be.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cris

      Not smart, finish what you start before you swim to the deep end of the pool. Iraq and Afganistan need to be completed before we go somewhere else. The Iranians have the support of the Russians so be prepared for a bloodbath on that.

      July 18, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  46. guest

    what about this war defines a win? I read about our poor service men and women and how they are victims....though I can have empathy, I find it hard to have sympathy. All the service people I know hhave volunteered to go or serve in units that are at high risk to go to war. It is the very real risk they knew going in. They took oaths not to question their senior officers and commander in cheif yet we make it sound sliek they are there against their will. Granted I do not want anyone coming home from a war deceased....but if it's a very real outcome should we not think twice before comitting to it?

    And for those of you out there....being against the war doesn't mean being against the troops...and lastly, this war was NOT a humanitariun effort so to claim about all the good we're doing there to free the people has absolutely no validity. If this is merely about civil rights than our occupation be in China or south America...not Afghanistan

    March 10, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Janet Peolsi, San Fran

    All you idiots screaming for immediate pullout and asking why we are there in the 1st place have real short memories. What , were you all born after September 11, 2001? What a bunch of nimrods. Pull out to save money? How about all the lives that have already been lost preserving your sorry backsides? We should throw all that away? You people are clueless.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  48. bladenrage

    Some good posts here and some typical simple thinking....people forget that the reason to go into Afganistan was for Bin Laden...not about securing and replacing the governemt of the Taliban that the US was so eager to do business with by inviting them to the US in hopes of winning the bid on the UNOCAL pipeline. The other fact, the Taliban was allowing Bin Laden to remain in country as a token of appreciation for helping the taliban rid Afganistan of the Russians. The US armed these militias and thanked them with not only cash but with weapons. The taliban was ready to give the US the pipeline contract until a last minute addition to the agreement by the taliban was that it wanted to be recognized as the official government of Afganistan which if that had happened would have allowed it to be qualified for global bank financing....the US was having none of that. So they gave the contract to the Nigerians...and 9/11 served as a convenient event to kill two birds with one stone...too bad it didn't go as planned.

    Much like the validity of conspiracy theories, we only know what the government wants to release to the public. we are all at te mercy of the spin doctors and the propaganda spewed into the main stream media...the truth is somewhere in between.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Salahd of Bar

    I still say and believe that the "Lake America" plan is still viable. Put up walls all around the country of Afghanistan and fill it with water. Build houses around the edge and bingo! a new vacation spot.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Bilal Kb Wardak

    Well would u like "a real smack in the face" to more marines that will lose their lives over somthing that is not possible to be done.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Jamie

    Gates thanks the Afghans for their service. We'll see how long that lasts. It was just weeks ago that the ANA had a 50% desertion rate. I totally agree with training the Afghans and getting rid of the Taliban. Gates doesn't need to kiss their butts.
    I keep all of our Troops in my prayers to be safe and return home with their families where they belong!

    March 10, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  52. seamas

    pulling out before we win would be a real smack in the face to the marines who have given their lives to win

    March 10, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Irwin Gilbert

    Wouldn't it be something to have a year when all of our soldiers and Marines and airman were home at rest and safe? That is my prayer for 2012.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Bilal Kb Wardak

    I have never wanted to imagine or utter these words but Afghanistan just might break off a peice of its borders to one of our neighbors which will cause more war for another decade. American troops need to go back to there families where they need to focus on helping their own country in the sense of education and economy. When the troops came they made roads, bridges, bases, and gave out resources that many villagers needed near the many things THEY have built...All of this was a front for there own sake and nothing for the people of that wise country. For those who are writers and need somthing to start your first or next book on here is a topic that goes on till the end of time, Afghanistan. I am left with so much to fix..thank you.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  55. John

    I think the quicker we get afghanistan security forces up and running effectively the better of the world will be.
    However, Iran remains extremely problematic in that they are eyeball deep in causing trouble subversively in the region and country. It is time to do whatever is needed
    strategically with focus on intelligence to Iran to restore a more democratic regime
    in that country. It is time to help the people in Iran bring democracy to their country.

    The theocracy in Iran needs to be removed along with armidinjad!!

    Simply put we need to intelligently but firmly be prepared to kick thier ass totally!

    John

    March 10, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  56. TyTy

    It was a mistake to send combat troops to Afghanistan! Fighting terrorists should be all about special forces. Conventional troops are for conventional war. For a non-conventional war you need non-conventional troops. Common sense please!

    March 10, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  57. U.S. Soldier of 14 years.

    I can't wait until they pull us out of here, but I don't think it will happen anytime soon. Our pathetic government has to much invested over here and won't pull out as they say they will in July 11. It's just not gonna happen. Our government needs to quit worring about everybody else's problems and begin fixing our own. The Afghan people don't want us here and "we" don't want to be here either. Our leadership is tieing our hands when it comes to defending ourselves here. The rules of engagement is suppose to be in place to help and assist our forces in protecting civilians and destroying the bad guys, but when civilians help the bad guys, then they're not friendly, innocent civilians no more. We will never win this war until we start fighting fire with fire. It just ain't gonna happen the way we're doing it now.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  58. PrettyAngel

    I have a brother-in-law and cousin in Iraq, an ex boyfriend that served in Afghanistan. I am ready for my family members to come home. I also have to say that PTSD is most definitely on the rise, military suicides are up too and our elected government officials make more money than our military troops. There is something very wrong with that.

    I hate war and I am not happy that billions of our dollars have been spent on countires that really do nothing to help make the USA a better place. Why are we even in Afghanistan, when will our government understand that there will never be PEACE in the Middle Easttern countries. Afghanistan has nothing that they can offer the USA, unless its a way to grow poppy seeds. That is the 3rd poorest country, so how are we as the USA going to make a CHANGE in that country or Iraq? I also read that an Iraqi official wants some US Troops to stay after the withdrawal of our troops. Why, money is not everything to work in Iraq, why would any American want to stay there without our troops showing a stronger force of representation there?

    Bring our TROOPS home ASAP, let those countries LEARN to take control of their own problems. The USA needs our troops here to strengthen our forces to protect us from the stupid home grown, monsterous terrorists that we have here on our soil. " WAR, "What is it Good For, absolutely NOTHING."

    March 10, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Guest

    It is correct to leave Afghanistan because there is no Al-Quaida hiding there now. However it will be a big mistake to leave Afghanistan without destroying or capturing the leaders of Taliban and Al-Quaida who are hiding in Pakistan. Al-Quaida and Taliban have created an elaborate support structure in Pakistan which is largely intact. If we leave that terror structure intact before leaving Afghanistan, then within one year of our withdrawal, the Taliban/Al-quaida nexus will come back to power in Kabul under new name. In that case all the men we lost and treasure we lost in fighting is wasted!!!
    Unfortunately, that is exactly going to happen !!

    March 10, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Jon

    If our enemy is terrorism, then the war will never end. There's no single enemy. You can't complete this war. That's why they're trying to set a deadline. It brings a sense of completion to something that will never be completed. What a mess.

    And killing terrorists with a full military force is like killing a fly with an F-16 jet fighter. You spend enormous amounts of money and you also end up killing a lot of innocent people in the process. We use big weapons to take out small targets, and this means unrelated people die. Terrorists are often caught using human shields because they're human beings like anyone else. They have family, friends, and communities they go to. The right thing would be for them to hide away in a cave so they don't endanger those around them, but the practical reality is they will do whatever they can to survive, and hiding in a cave would leave them without a support network. So they choose to put in danger their support network. What a mess. War is hell. Crime is hell.

    The issue I see in Afghanistan and Iraq is that they've been so torn because of war for the past 30 or so years that they have lost their own ability to govern themselves sensibly. So we're over there trying to build a government, to build a nation, to rid them of terrorists and thieves, and yet we can't afford to do that when our own nation needs rebuilding. So, this mess is not going to end good no matter what happens.

    My guess is either the UN builds a multi-national force that's unprecedented, or we'll be back in Iraq or Afghanistan in another 20 years to play the same game all over again. It's just an ugly cycle that never gets finished because we're taking too much on at once. The other nations in the world need to get involved somehow to ensure Iraq and Afghanistan can govern themselves properly.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  61. the Yank

    If the troops are going to do a job, give them everything they need to do it right, especially time. I don't believe anything can actually get done in Afghanistan in a year. Time will tell, and good luck to the troops out there.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Ken

    "Iran has innovative plans for resolving ongoing problems in Afghanistan and the withdrawal of the occupying forces from the country," I think they are referring to the next generation of their IEDs, "IED Gen II". They plan to plant millions of them all over the country, especially around all the militery bases.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Mike Hassan

    Please keep the alchohal drinking to yourself but as long as you are there don't even try or encourage others to open liquire store or bar in the muslim country. Don't try to dictate to them what's the definition of democrocy and surge your own definition. I think, as in past, iran can get rid of taliban better than all westen worlds combined.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Ken

    When the Iranian Leader said "occupying forces" I'm sure he was referring to the US and their allies. However if you ask the Iranian Leader about who he was referring to, I'm sure he'll say the foriegn fighters friom the other middle eastern countries (not Taliban however).

    March 10, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  65. J.D.

    Doesn't anyone remember that Iran covertly helped up undo the Taliban in 2001? Oh yeah, and OLB helped defeat the USSR there also. We'll probably never get the people of the region to give OLB up. They all think he's their hero. The sooner we leave, the sooner the region returns to some kind of normal, although I guess perpetual war is the norm there.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  66. mike

    this is the correct strategy. if it was excueted 02-present Afghanistan woul dbe better. the ANSF (other than the ANA) would have been better. its in our best interest to ensure Afghanistan is a stable state that provides basic services to its citizenry

    March 10, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  67. http://twitter.com/whybs

    1. Need to see Osama' head!
    2. Next, whip Iran!

    March 10, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  68. fknu2

    wow, thats good news. good job, man. and the iranian-visit thingee?? ...would like more info on that.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  69. dehai zhang

    the sooner the troops pull out, the better. the less money spent there, the more money will be spent on roads, bridges, high speed rails here, hoepfully.

    March 10, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  70. J.S.

    Really?

    And what about the terrorists? Bin Laden? Anyone? You have got to be kidding me.

    I guess it shouldn't come as a shock. The American public's interest has dwindled since we first invaded. The public gets bored with things like this when they don't receive instant gratification. Makes you wonder why we even bothered after 9/11. Most of America has forgotten the thousands of innocents that were murdered.

    Typical.

    I'm sure some conspiracy theorists will chime in. Just remember, they get all of their information from conspiracy theorist websites and often enough (roughly 100% of the time) their "facts" are tragically skewed.

    March 10, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  71. narrator

    Like I said before about this meeting between the leaders of Iran and Afghanistan. I want to know what is said between these 2. I wonder if Ahmadinejad will soon be visiting the elected leader of Iraq? We know he is just a puppet for Komeini. What kind of lies will he be spreading to Karzai and I wonder why someone from the US hasn't been invited?. I wonder if Ahmadinejad will listen to his neighbors and stop trying to build a nuclear weapon. Having Ahmadinejad help dictate what should be done in the middle east is like the mistake the US made in letting Stalin and the USSR determine what should be done with Europe after WWII.

    March 10, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  72. AFG

    I see a great progress in Afghan National Army Training and its a good sign that our troops will go home early. I am sure we will be still supporting (ANA) Afghan National Army and US will be staying in main bases like Bagram, Kandahar to provide more training for ANA and ANP. The Taliban fight will have no end foreign fighters from Pakistan, Arab countries, Uzbekistan etc will still remain to disrupt the situation in Afghanistan.

    March 10, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  73. David

    It's awful funny that on the same day that Fox News publishes a story about the Iran Leader Ahmadinejad saying that the US was playing a double game that CNN just happens to throw in at the end of their story above that Gates has said that Iran has been playing a double game. Really? When did gates says this? Ahmadinejad made his statement while visiting Afghanistan yesterday and all of a sudden Gates said it too. What, are we 5years old or something. Another question, what the hell is Ahmadinejad doing in Afghanistan saying that Iran will help Karzai after the Americans leave. Isn't Afghanistan a war zone and why didn't we shoot his damn plane down.

    March 10, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  74. desertwolf

    yep, it had to happen, (we're using our brain now) time to declare victory and go home...

    March 10, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  75. vincent

    Why don't you tell them the exact date we are pulling out so the Taliban can plan more effectively!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 10, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Macleod2012

    Don't worry Gates...Afghanistan is using birth-control you don't have to pull out......

    March 10, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  77. bob

    That can only mean we are winning handily.. great job to everyone involved!

    March 10, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  78. king of Qatar

    Big boys, i know it is hard for you to admit that you have failed miserably in Afghanistan, but at least is not to late to pull out, and take those poor troops back home where the belong so they could contribute to their society instead of getting killed. love and peace all the way from the Middle East.

    March 10, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  79. Bilal Wardak

    I'm still at the US policy promised in accordance with Afghan war. Why did the US come in frist place? What have they achieved besides thousands of civilians dead. Not to mention the enmity between the Afghan Taliban and the opposition got more serious. Also, Afghanistan is left with a debt Afghans can never pay off. The so called "War on Terror" comes to an end with the pullout of troops, but what did this so called "War on Terror" achieve anyways?

    March 10, 2010 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  80. Rosslaw

    Just to be more accurate, President Obama authorized 21,000 troops for Afghanistan in March 2009 to stem the fiasco that the war had become under the Bush Administration. The 30,000 troops in late 2009 are in addition to those. Adm. Mike Milligan said in an interview on the Lehrer report in late 2008 that the US actually needed those troops then but that the US military had been reduceed to being "on the verge of collapse" by the rightwing's masters of disaster who now pontificate on how Pres. Obama should run the war. To use an apt analogy, listening to Republicans on how to run a war is like hiring a pedeophile for your baby sitter.

    March 10, 2010 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • ExArmy

      You sound just like Obama – blame it on Bush

      July 18, 2010 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  81. Beef King

    Open a Wal-Mart. provide internet access, American cable tv, and junk food.
    Everything will be fine.

    March 10, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  82. charls

    I hope that he is right.

    March 10, 2010 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  83. Bull

    He thanked the Afgan soldiers for their service ? Guess he forgot it's their country and problem . The faster we are out of that rock pile the better. Bring my Marine nephew home.

    March 10, 2010 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  84. Nancy

    I'm confident the innovative plans that Iran has for Afghanistan are not in the best interest of the Afghan people. Ahmadinejad talks about purging the "occupying forces" which he has no control over. However, when the US Forces do leave, Afghanistan should have to step up and handle their own problems.

    March 10, 2010 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  85. Daniel Boone

    Gates has accused Iran of "playing a double game" by befriending Afghan? Mr. Gates should take a long look in the mirror before making hypocrite comments.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Catie

      Perhaps you should finish the sentence? Maybe add the part about "while while secretly aiding Taliban fighters."

      July 28, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Harold Trainer, USAF RET

    That is good. We need to leave there as soon as possible. No troops left. Let them handle their own country and we will see what happens but not on my dollar or the cost of lives of brave young American military. We need to keep our troops home and not use them to underwrite our economy and energy needs.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  87. B. Gates

    Support the Troops. Bring them home NOW!

    March 10, 2010 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |