Gates in southern Afghanistan as two-day trip continues
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates is escorted by Afghan Chief of Staff Lt. General Shir Mohammad Karimi.
March 8th, 2011
10:35 AM ET

Gates in southern Afghanistan as two-day trip continues

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan Tuesday morning as he continued his two-day trip to the country, meeting with senior officers and Afghan leaders.

Gates' visit is his 13th to Afghanistan since he became defense secretary in 2006.

He last traveled to the embattled country three months ago, in December 2010. He has said he prefers to make quarterly tours to monitor the war effort, according to Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell.

On Monday, Gates offered his personal apology to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai for the killings of nine Afghan boys last week in a NATO-led helicopter attack targeting insurgents, saying the incident "breaks our hearts."

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Filed under: Gates • State of Afghanistan • Troops